Huckabee Sanders: Trump Has Revoked John Brennan's Security Clearance

August 15, 2018

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump decided to revoke the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan.

Sanders started the daily press briefing by reading a letter from Trump announcing his decision to revoke Brennan's security clearance and review the security clearances of various ex-officials.

"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 regarding matters about which they may have special insights and as a professional courtesy," Sanders said. "Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan's continued access to classified information."

The administration annoucened in July the course of action was a possibility.

Sanders went on to read Trump's letter, which talked about Brennan's "erratic conduct and behavior" and how benefits that may have been gleaned from consultation with Brennan are now outweighed by risks associated with his behavior.

"Mr. Brennan has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility," Sanders said. "In 2014, for example, he denied to Congress that CIA officials under his supervision had improperly accessed the computer files of congressional staffers. He told the Council on Foreign Relations that the CIA would never do such a thing. The CIA's Inspector General however contradicted Mr. Brennan directly, concluding unequivocally that agency officials had indeed improperly accessed congressional staffers' files."

Later in the letter, Trump discussed how he was currently reviewing the "more general question of the access to classified information by government officials."

"As part of this review, I am evaluating action with respect to the following individuals: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr," Sanders read. "Security clearances for those who still have them may be revoked and those who have already lost their security clearance may not be able to have it reinstated."

Sanders said during the briefing the decision was made because Trump has a responsibility to protect classified information.

"The president has a a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information and who has access to it and that's what he's doing is fulfilling this responsibility," she said.

ABC News' Jon Karl asked Sanders whether Trump was going after his political opponents–Brennan has been a vocal critic of the administration–prompting her to deny the charge.

"No. If there were others that weren't, that we deemed necessary, we would certainly take a look and review those as well," Sanders said.