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White House: President Trump considering stripping security clearances from former officials
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Monday that President Donald Trump is considering revoking the security clearance of several former U.S. security officials. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

White House: President Trump considering stripping security clearances from former officials

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Monday that President Donald Trump is looking into the prospect of revoking the security clearance of a number of former U.S. government officials.

What's this about?

The announcement came after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested on Twitter that former Central Intelligence Agency  Director John Brennan was capitalizing on his continued intelligence access.

"Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realdonaldtrump?," the senator asked, later declaring, "Today I will meet with the President and I will ask him to revoke John Brennan's security clearance!"

President Trump must have liked the idea, considering Sanders provided a list of former security officials within hours who could face having their clearance privileges removed.

Mentioned on the list was not only outspoken Trump critic Brennan, but former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden.

"They've politicized and in some cases monetized their public service," Sanders said of those named during the briefing, and that "making baseless accusations of an improper relationship with Russia is inappropriate."

The press secretary added, "When you have the highest level of security clearance...when you have the nation's secrets at hand, and you go out and make false [statements], the president feels that's something to be very concerned with."

Will the president really do that?

Trump has the authority, but it might not matter all that much.

In the case of McCabe, he lost his clearance when he was fired, according to spokesperson Melissa Schwartz who tweeted out, "Andrew McCabe's security clearance was deactivated when he was terminated, according to what we were told was FBI policy. You would think the White House would check with the FBI before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps..."

In response to the statements from Sanders, Clapper told CNN, "I think this is just a very, very petty thing to do. And that about all I'll say about it," but then added, "There is a formal process for doing this. But, you know, legally the President has that prerogative and he can suspend and revoke clearances as he sees fit. If he chooses to do it for political reasons, I think that's a terrible precedent and it's a really sad commentary and it's an abuse of the system."

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