Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Paul Ryan: Trump's security clearance threats amount to 'trolling'

Paul Ryan: Trump's security clearance threats amount to 'trolling'

Former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former national security agency director Michael Hayden, Barack Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice and former Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director Andrew McCabe could also lose their clearances, Ms Sanders said.

Wittes added that Comey "declined a temporary clearance from the (Inspector General) to read the classified annex to the IG's recent report". While standing next to Putin, Trump had openly questioned his own intelligence agencies' conclusions that Moscow was to blame for meddling in the 2016 USA election, and seemed to accept Putin's insistence that Russia's hands were clean.

Sanders also spoke about the United States president's tweet on Iran and his toughness on Russian Federation.

"The President will make his decision on this at some point, but is in no hurry to do so and likes this debate", the official said.

Mr Clapper, who stepped down as director of national intelligence before Mr Trump took office past year, has accused the president of placing American democratic institutions "under assault". Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted that he was planning to raise the issue of revoking Brennan's clearance at a meeting with Trump.

Hayden, a former director of the CIA and National Security Agency and a retired four-star Air Force general, said he was unbowed.

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But former acting CIA Director Mike Morrell told CBS News that the goal of extending security clearances is to benefit the USA government, not the people who have them.

Asked if Mr Trump was punishing the former officials due to their criticism, Ms Sanders said, "No, I think you are creating your own story there".

Both the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees all USA intelligence agencies, said they had no comment on Trump's threat. "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. Former CIA officer John Sipher told NPR's Morning Edition that while Trump has the right to revoke security clearances, he disagrees with the reasoning. I restated to him what I have said in public: "John Brennan and other partisans should have their security clearances revoked", Paul tweeted.

Reporters in the White House press room were shocked at the announcement that the possibility was even being contemplated, with one journalist asking Sanders if Trump is simply suppressing the free speech of officials "for saying things about him that he doesn't like". "But, you know, legally the President has that prerogative and he can suspend and revoke clearances as he sees fit".

CNN host Wolf Blitzer anxious Monday on "The Situation Room" that revoking Clapper clearance in particular would constitute a "potential national security threat". "You look at McCabe", Trump said during a CBS News interview last week.

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