Paul Ryan On Trump Revoking Security Clearances: ‘He’s Just Trolling People’

WASHINGTON DC- JULY 17 Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and fellow House Republican leaders hold a news conference following their weekly caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center

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"I'll look forward to seeing what the president decides on it".

U.S. media have described the White House move as a reprisal against the administration's outspoken critics.

"Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin".

Former intelligence officials usually keep their security clearance but rarely use it, sometimes providing advice to successors.

Working on the front lines with Fortune 1000 companies to protect and defend their infrastructure from insider threats, cybercriminal syndicates and state-sponsored actors, I have leaned heavily upon the experiences and wisdom of many of our public servants who have worked for our recent presidents of both political parties. Even Michael Flynn, Trump's onetime national security adviser who was sacked during the Obama administration, maintained his clearance when he was acting as a campaign surrogate for Trump, often leading "lock her up" chants at political rallies.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted earlier Monday that he was planning to raise the issue of revoking Brennan's clearance at a meeting with Trump.

Comey reportedly responded "nope", adding that he was "read out" when he left government and later declined a temporary clearance to read a classified version of the DOJ'S inspector general report.

Paul has been no fan of Brennan - he filibustered for 13 hours in a failed attempt to block his 2013 nomination for Central Intelligence Agency director - and the senator's noninterventionist views put him at odds with much of the rest of the national security establishment.

Journalists at the briefing audibly gasped at the announcement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who suggested that the Obama intel officials had "monetized their public service".

"It was nothing short of treasonous", Brennan tweeted.

"For political reasons, this is a petty way of retribution, I suppose, for speaking out against the president, which I think on the part of all of us, are borne out of genuine concerns about President Trump", Clapper said on CNN.

"Now the pre-Trump tradition is that all former CIA, NSA, FBI, and DNI directors hold a security clearance for the objective of strengthening the collective wisdom and expertise of the USA government and the American president who heads it".

Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy specialist with the Federation of American Scientists, said Trump probably has the legal authority to do it, given his status as commander-in-chief. "Is there no length Trump will not go to stifle opposition?" asked U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Sanders was later asked if the clearances for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would also be removed, she told reporters "I'm not aware of any plans for that at this point". Comey, who Trump fired as Federal Bureau of Investigation director past year, has said he does not have one, his friend Benjamin Wittes said on Twitter. "I mean, it's a banana republic kind of thing". "This is a free country, we have freedom of speech, we have people giving their opinions, and this is just beyond the pale", he said.

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