Brennan says Trump's claims of no collusion with Russian Federation are 'hogwash'

Former Intel Chiefs: White House Using Security Clearances As A 'Political Tool'

One day after President Donald Trump stripped former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan of his security clearance, the commander of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden said it would be an honor if the president would take away his own clearance next.

His comments came two days after he yanked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, saying he had to do "something" about the "rigged" US federal probe of Russian election interference. President Trump said today at the White House he's actually doing the opposite.

"If anything, I'm giving him a bigger voice", the president said.

Two of those signing the statement - Clapper and Hayden - have been cited by Trump as on a list of people who could also lose their clearance.

"So I think it's something that had to be done", he said.

In another pushback against the president, retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, praised Brennan and asked Trump to revoke his own security clearance as well, writing in a Washington Post opinion piece that he would "consider it an honor".

Brennan was alarmed that Trump's decision made him "a pawn in his public relations strategy", despite the serious role he once held at the Central Intelligence Agency. The president may have connected the dots for Robert Mueller, showing that he had started a security clearance-revoking rampage, not because he wants to protect classified information, but because he wants to silence, and punish his critics, those tied to the Russian Federation investigation in particular.

Mr. Ohr's wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, the company paid by Democrats to dig up dirt on Mr. Trump, including hiring Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the controversial dossier.

All are critics of the president or are people who Trump appears to believe are against him.

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McRaven previously has been vocal in his criticism of Trump's performance as president. Ohr had a role in the investigation into Russia's attacks on the 2016 USA elections, which Trump has called a 'rigged witch hunt, ' and Trump has threatened revoking security clearances for numerous highly-positioned officials involved in that investigation.

"We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case".

Mr Brennan, who served under President Barack Obama and has become a vocal Trump critic, called Mr Trump's claims that he did not collude with Russian Federation "hogwash".

Brennan repeatedly criticized Republicans for failing to speak out against Trump's decisions that he felt were endangering the country.

"Using the security clearance process to punish a political opponent was simply inappropriate even though we admit that the president has absolute authority in this area", Hayden said.

The president's remarks and the report from the Washington Post escalated worsening tensions between the White House and the intelligence community.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken.

Of those on the list, only Ohr is still employed in government service, but maintaining a security clearance is useful for finding documents if any of them are called to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller investigation. "I've never respected him", Trump said.

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