A former senior national security official told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace that people need to act if Trump moves to strip security clearances away from former officials who criticize him.
Wallace said, “A former senior intelligence officially spoke to today following the White House threat called today’s announcement a watershed moment of the Trump presidency and said, quote, if we have come to a point when we use the stripping of security clearances to deny free speech, we have crossed an American line and people need to act. He also said of the individuals named by the White House today who he knows well, quote, the danger here is that while traditionally former directors have not entered the political debate, they have been called Nazis by this president and these guys feel there is a need to protect the community because Trump has crossed lines that create danger. This former official added, quote, the standard for stripping clearances is the disclosure of classified information, and none of these individuals have disclosed classified information. They’re doing no more than exercising their first amendment right to criticize a sitting president.”
The White House floated the idea today of taking away the national security clearances of former CIA director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey, Michael Hayden, Susan Rice, former acting director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. All of these people have two things in common. They either investigated the Russia scandal, or they have criticized Trump.
If the president does start taking away security clearances, it will be a move intended to silence criticism of him from within the intelligence community. Donald Trump is a threat to the First Amendment and national security.
He is threatening to abuse presidential power to silence criticism, and if he follows through, Congress and the American people must be prepared to act.
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