Trump blacklists critical ex-CIA chief Brennan
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, and warned several other prominent critics they too risk being blacklisted.
by Andrew BEATTYIn a highly unusually directive, Trump claimed that Brennan -- a former station chief in Riyadh who rose to lead the formidable spy agency -- had become "erratic." Brennan is a frequent Trump critic. Just hours before Trump issued the edict, the former CIA chief had accused the Republican leader of failing "to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity." And after Trump's surprise decision was made public at a White House briefing, Brennan quickly hit back, accusing the president of trying to curb free speech in a "politically motivated" action that he said should "gravely worry all Americans." In his statement, Trump suggested the ex-spy chief had tossed around "unfounded and outrageous allegations -- wild outbursts on the internet and television -- about this administration" and engaged in "increasingly frenzied commentary." Brennan, who has briefed Republican and Democratic presidents, could now lose access to classified information -- a courtesy usually afforded to former senior officials of all political stripes. The White House has been besieged by a scandal over a former aide's tell-all memoir in recent days and often tries to defuse crises by stoking new controversy. It said that eight other officials could also lose their clearances, including former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director and four-star general Michael Hayden and ex-FBI director James Comey. The individuals were accused -- without details -- of politicizing and monetizing their public service and security clearances. "Historically, former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors," Trump's statement read. "At this point in my administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with Mr Brennan are now outweighed by the risk posed by his erratic conduct and behavior." He later tweeted "John Brennan is a stain on the Country, we deserve better than this," quoting the author of a new book that claims Trump's predecessor Barack Obama attempted to sabotage his presidential campaign.