John Brennan’s Security Clearance

by Gary Fouse

As would be predicted, the media and the left are full of outage over President Trump’s lifting of former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. According to the CNN’s of the world, it’s all because Brennan has spoken out publicly against Trump. The fact is, however, that there is ample justification for taking away his security clearance.

First of all, a security clearance is a privilege not a right. Brennan is no longer automatically entitled to a clearance now that he has left government service. In fact, when I was a DEA agent stationed in Milan, Italy in the 1980s, I was granted a special access clearance in 1985 when I became the agent in charge of the office. After a (further) background investigation, I was given the clearance so that the CIA could share information with me. Once I left that position, I reverted back to my lesser clearance. Today, as a retired citizen, I have no clearance.

In practice, many people like Brennan are allowed to maintain their clearances so that new officials can consult with them if necessary or in the case they are appointed to a new government position. It is not automatic, however.  While the CIA can renew the security clearance of its former directors every five years, it is contingent upon them conducting themselves responsibly as if they were still employed by the CIA. Brennan fails that test miserably. CIA directors, while they can have their political opinions and vote as they wish (He voted for longtime Communist Party USA chief Gus Hall for president in 1976 while in college.) they are supposed to be apolitical and non-partisan in the performance of their duties. Brennan was and is a political animal.

So what has Brennan done to merit having his clearance removed? Keep in mind that with all the hullabaloo over Russian meddling in the 2016 election, it all took place under President Obama’s watch. In addition, it all took place under Brennan’s watch.

But more importantly, Brennan used his office to advance his political ideology, which favored candidate Hillary Clinton over Trump. He abused his position to allow our national intelligence apparatus to be weaponized against Trump. It was Brennan who released details of the infamous Russian dossier to former Democrat Senator Harry Reid. There is also the matter of all the “unmasking” requests that Obama’s UN Ambassador Samantha Power made for intelligence information on political opponents. Brennan was specifically asked about that during Congressional testimony in 2017 by Trey Gowdy (R-SC). 

Gowdy: Do you recall any U.S. ambassadors asking that names be unmasked?

Brennan: I don’t know. Maybe it’s ringing a vague bell but I’m not — I could not answer with any confidence.

All that alone shows that he cannot be trusted with sensitive information. Now he is a talking hack on MSNBC vilifying Trump. After disgraced FBI official Andrew McCabe was fired, Brennan sent out this memorable tweet:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history,” he wrote. “You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, a Republican who is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has made an interesting comment this week about Mr Brennan.

Director Brennan’s recent statements purport to know as fact that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power. If Director Brennan’s statement is based on intelligence he received while still leading the CIA, why didn’t he include it in the Intelligence Community Assessment released in 2017? If his statement is based on intelligence he has seen since leaving office, it constitutes an intelligence breach. If he has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the Special Counsel, not The New York Times.

“If, however, Director Brennan’s statement is purely political and based on conjecture, the president has full authority to revoke his security clearance as head of the Executive Branch.” 

There have long been rumors, mostly on the Internet, that Brennan converted to Islam while serving as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. They are attributed to anonymous sources and ex FBI agent John Guandolo, an anti-Islamist activist. Some critics point to Brennan’s 2010 speech to a Muslim audience at New York University (sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamic Society of North America), in which he lauded Islam and used the term, Al Quds (the Arabic name) to refer to Jerusalem. Perhaps, this was just another government official being hyper-diplomatic to a Muslim audience. After all, George W Bush after 9-11, said, “Islam is peace.” As to the question of whether Brennan is a Muslim, I don’t know. Is it a relevant question? I will let the reader decide. 

Let me be clear: Brennan has a right to choose his own religion and to keep it private if he chooses. The allegation that he is a Muslim is as yet unproven. He also has the right of free speech. He is free to criticize the President. He does not, however, have an automatic right to a security clearance. Setting aside the question of religion, Brennan has demonstrated by his actions toward candidate Trump as CIA director and his wild statements as ex-CIA director that he should not have a security clearance.


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