Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested last month that President Donald Trump revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan over his potential to profit from classified information despite no longer holding an official government position.
Trump agreed, and revoked Brennan's clearance on Wednesday, more than a month after Paul's suggestion.
And while officially Trump acted because Brennan used his status "to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations" and "wild outbursts" about the Trump administration, Paul explained on Fox News Thursday that Brennan's clearance should have been revoked for "cause" — if that wasn't the reason, at least privately.
What did Paul say?
Speaking with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Paul reiterated the fact that he has urged government officials for months to review the security clearance statuses of multiple former government officials.
However, Brennan was a special case, Paul said, explaining the "left is ignoring" that Brennan allegedly violated security protocols by leaking information, which should have been the basis for him losing his security clearance.
"I think he should have had his clearance revoked for cause. He leaked information that came out in the media that we had a double agent in Yemen," Paul said.
"Remember when we were going after the 'underwear bomber'? There still is a bomb maker in Yemen. He leaked that to the media," Paul explained. "The double agent was still there, and he put that agent's life at risk."
"John Brennan should have been fired for that alone," Paul continued.
What did Brennan do?
At about 5:45 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 7, 2017, just before the evening newscasts, John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top White House adviser on counter-terrorism, held a small, private teleconference to brief former counter-terrorism advisers who have become frequent commentators on TV news shows.
According to five people familiar with the call, Brennan stressed that the plot was never a threat to the U.S. public or air safety because Washington had “inside control” over it.
Brennan’s comment appears unintentionally to have helped lead to disclosure of the secret at the heart of a joint U.S.-British-Saudi undercover counter-terrorism operation.
A few minutes after Brennan’s teleconference, on ABC’s World News Tonight, Richard Clarke, former chief of counter-terrorism in the Clinton White House and a participant on the Brennan call, said the underwear bomb plot “never came close because they had insider information, insider control.”
A few hours later, Clarke, who is a regular consultant to the network, concluded on ABC’s Nightline that there was a Western spy or double-agent in on the plot: “The U.S. government is saying it never came close because they had insider information, insider control, which implies that they had somebody on the inside who wasn’t going to let it happen.”
Because of the leaked information, U.S. officials had to prematurely shut down the operation, despite needing it to continue.
Paul has sounded the alarm on this specific issue before.
According to a report from the Washington Post, Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of nearly a dozen additional former government officials.