Why Trump revoking Brennan's security clearance changes the gameAugust 17, 20182 min read
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders began the August 15 press briefing with an announcement: President Donald Trump had revoked former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.
Brennan served under President Barack Obama from 2013-2017. Since the 2016 presidential election, Brennan has been a staunch opponent of Trump and is known for expressing his opinions about the president on social media.
Trump explained his decision by citing Brennan’s behavior and commentary on social media and accused him of colluding with Russia and profiting off U.S. secrets. Brennan denied the claims and many critics, including both republicans and democrats, called the decision “unprecedented” and “authoritarian.”
Are the critics’ right?
Dr. Craig Albert, Director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies and associate professor of political science, says the decision is highly unusual. Generally, Albert said, an individual’s security clearance is revoked for security reasons or for conviction of a felony.
“Although President Trump gave reasons for the revocation of Brennan’s clearance, it seems rather clear that the personal distaste between the two played a part in the decision,” he said.
A scholar of political science and political philosophy, Albert said it’s possible that this decision was intended to set a precedent, especially since Trump has discussed revoking security clearances from other former government officials.
“Usually, clearance is revoked for specific crimes, financial hardship, moral turpitude or the clearance just runs out and is not renewed,” Albert said. “This seems to have more to do with personal animosity than any of the typical reasons.”
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Craig Albert Director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies
Dr. Craig Albert is a leading expert on war, terrorism and American politics and has testified to the U.S. Congress on Islamic Extremism.