13 former intel leaders shred Trump's 'attempt to stifle free speech'


Trump's decision to strip the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan is not going over so well.

Thirteen former top U.S. intelligence officials on Thursday ripped Trump's recent move to strip the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, saying it was a frightening attempt to stifle dissent that shouldn't have happened and should never happen again.

In a public statement, the former intelligence officials wrote that "security clearances should be based on national concerns and not political views."

"Insinuations and allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Brennan while in office are baseless," the statement said, referring to Sarah Sanders' claims that Brennan had leaked classified intelligence.

"We all agree that 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 officials added.

The signatories include six former directors of the CIA, one former director of national intelligence (DNI), and five former deputy directors of the CIA. On Friday, Bob Gates, former director of Central Intelligence under George H.W. Bush and secretary of defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, also joined on as a signatory.

The White House announced the move to strip Brennan's clearance on Wednesday. Brennan has been among Trump's most effective critics, and most saw the decision to revoke his clearance as a blatant, politically motivated act of vengeance.

Echoing other top intelligence officers, the officials in the letter said they "have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case."

"Beyond that, this action is quite clearly a signal to other current and former officials," they added, referring to the decision as "inappropriate and deeply regrettable."

This comes just after retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the raid under President Obama that took out Osama bin Laden, dared Trump to revoke his security clearance, saying he would "consider it an honor."

Meanwhile, as the entire national intelligence community slams the move, Trump's Republican allies are busy cheering on the degradation of U.S. national security.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.