Former CIA Director John Brennan said Thursday that despite his issues with President Donald Trump, he takes “no delight in seeing the steady collapse of a U.S. Presidency.”
“I take no delight in seeing the steady collapse of a U.S. Presidency, but I do take strong comfort in knowing that the rule of law & our great government institutions are prevailing,” Brennan tweeted Thursday afternoon. “Things ultimately will get better, and we will heal as a Nation.”
I take no delight in seeing the steady collapse of a U.S. Presidency, but I do take strong comfort in knowing that the rule of law & our great government institutions are prevailing. Things ultimately will get better, and we will heal as a Nation.
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 23, 2018
Brennan served as CIA director from 2013-2017 under President Barack Obama and has become a stalwart critic of the 45th president. Last week, Trump yanked Brennan’s security clearance over Brennan’s ongoing criticism.
The White House, quoting the president, rationalized his decision:
I have a unique constitutional responsibility to protect the nation’s classified information, including by controlling access to it. Today, in fulfilling that responsibility, I have decided to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The statement added:
Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets.”
That same day, Brennan published an op-ed in the New York Times in which he blasted Trump’s claims of “no collusion” with Russia as “hogwash.”
Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.
Brennan also referred to Trump as a “puppet” of Russia, which through “cultivating relationships with individuals who wield actual or potential power” is able to manipulate “gullible or unprincipled individuals who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters.”
Scores of current and former intelligence officials have come to Brennan’s defense, and many of them have landed on Trump’s growing “enemies list.”
In a statement, the signatories described Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s security clearance as an “attempt to stifle free speech.”
The president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances,” the officers sad, “and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech.
Below are the signatories.
- William H. Webster, former Director of Central Intelligence (1987-1991)
- George J. Tenet, former Director of Central Intelligence (1997-2004)
- Porter J. Goss, former Director of Central Intelligence, (2005-2006)
- General Michael V. Hayden, USAF, Ret., former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
- Leon E. Panetta, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2009-2011)
- General David H. Petraeus, USA, Ret., former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
- James R. Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence (2010-2017)
- John E. McLaughlin, former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (2000-2004)
- Stephen R. Kappes, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2006-2010)
- Michael J. Morell, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2010-2013)
- Avril Haines, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2013-2015)
- David S. Cohen, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2015-2017)
Last Friday, sixty former CIA agents condemned Trump for his targeting of Brennan in a second open letter.
“All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so,” the letter read.
The officials denounced creating a “political litmus test” for allowing experts to share their opinions.
“Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former Director Brennan or the way in which he expressed them,” Brennan’s defenders said.
“What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views,” they added.