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Iran Press TV

Trump threatens to revoke security clearances of Obama-era officials

Iran Press TV

Tue Jul 24, 2018 06:05PM

US President Donald Trump has threatened to revoke the security clearances of at least six top national security and intelligence officials of the era of former President Barack Obama who have been critical of the administration.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday that the US president was considering denying six Obama-era officials access to classified information for making "baseless accusations" against him.

The officials include former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former NSA Director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, former US National Security advisor Susan Rice and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

"The president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearance because they've politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances," Sanders told reporters during a press briefing at the White House.

"Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate, and the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence," she added.

Sanders declined to cite specific comments made by any of the officials. The decision comes as the US president has been reeling from a bipartisan backlash after his last week's controversial joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki, Finland, during which Trump declined to endorse the US intelligence community's assessment of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Brennan slammed Trump's comments at the summit as "nothing short of treasonous" and accused the US president of being "wholly in the pocket of Putin."

Clapper, reacting to the possible revoking of clearances, said on CNN that Trump's decision was "kind of a petty way of retribution, I suppose, for speaking out against the president, which I think, on the part of all of us, are borne out of genuine concerns about President Trump."

Hayden said in a posting on Twitter on Monday that revoking his security clearance would not "have any effect on what I say or write."

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