Case for yanking Brennan's and Clapper's security clearances intensifies

Something seems to be going on with President Trump's stated interest in pulling the security clearances of former Obama administration officials, who use their past position to calumniate Trump, politicize intelligence, and monetize their access.

According to this report from RealClearInvestigations' Lee Smith, intelligence officials are telling him that privately, they back President Trump on pulling the security clearances of connivers such as former CIA director John Brennan and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the pair of whom have used their clearances to undermine the Trump administration, and who are largely responsible for the corruption of intelligence.

Smith writes:

President Trump has been criticized for politicizing the intelligence community by threatening to strip the security clearances of former top officials including John Brennan and James Clapper.  But numerous past and present senior intelligence officials say the Obama administration started that politicization – and revoking the clearances of those who abuse the privilege for partisan purposes may help right the ship.

Two things leap out about this.  One, the people speaking are the actual spies and, presumably, are concerned about the impact of Brennan's and Clapper's activities on their own credibility and capacity to do their jobs.  Brennan and Clapper, who've done all kinds of Sneaky Pete, from lying to Congress to making up phony speculations about Trump being "compromised," which goes against all the rules of spy tradecraft, are actually a threat to the profession.  Spies who don't play these swamp games are starting to feel threatened, and you can bet they are getting word to the White House, perhaps via General Kelly.

Here's the other thing: Smith asked the White House what the deal was – and he got an ominous silence.  That's significant coming from a place that's pretty leak-happy.  Nobody wanted to say anything, not even to criticize Brennan and Clapper.  What that sounds like is something going on, some legal move to pull the clearances that can't be subject to media wars.

The perspective of the intelligence officials is very interesting.  When I used to meet U.S. Cabinet officials, from both the Bush and the earliest part of the Obama administrations, I recall that they were a circumspect lot.  Former President Bush's commerce secretary, Carlos Gutiérrez, was scrupulous about not politicizing his job.  Same with Bush's former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.  President Obama's early trade negotiator, Ron Kirk, came off as similarly ethically oriented.  They all seemed to understand that they were no longer in politics, but there only to serve the entire country.  There was a sense that they were holding the public trust.

You don't see that meticulousness with former Obama officials in the latter part of his administration.  Guys like Brennan and Clapper keep their clearances like some medieval sinecure; use those clearances to make money as "commentators" on CNN or wherever; bask in the prestige of having them; and leak from them for their own political ends.  This was never the purpose of anyone having a security clearance, which has always been to help the country.  Elad Hakim's fine analysis of this can be read here.

Since they aren't helping, why are they allowed any access to the nation's secrets at all?  It's a creepy benefit for them, from which the American people get absolutely nothing.  If we aren't getting anything from Clapper's or Brennan's "expertise" why are they given the time of day?  Might as well give everyone a clearance for all the good it does, because these vipers have them.  President Trump is right to hose the corrupt system out.

From Smith's report, it sounds as though they know they are on solid legal ground, and under the surface, things are moving.

Something seems to be going on with President Trump's stated interest in pulling the security clearances of former Obama administration officials, who use their past position to calumniate Trump, politicize intelligence, and monetize their access.

According to this report from RealClearInvestigations' Lee Smith, intelligence officials are telling him that privately, they back President Trump on pulling the security clearances of connivers such as former CIA director John Brennan and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the pair of whom have used their clearances to undermine the Trump administration, and who are largely responsible for the corruption of intelligence.

Smith writes:

President Trump has been criticized for politicizing the intelligence community by threatening to strip the security clearances of former top officials including John Brennan and James Clapper.  But numerous past and present senior intelligence officials say the Obama administration started that politicization – and revoking the clearances of those who abuse the privilege for partisan purposes may help right the ship.

Two things leap out about this.  One, the people speaking are the actual spies and, presumably, are concerned about the impact of Brennan's and Clapper's activities on their own credibility and capacity to do their jobs.  Brennan and Clapper, who've done all kinds of Sneaky Pete, from lying to Congress to making up phony speculations about Trump being "compromised," which goes against all the rules of spy tradecraft, are actually a threat to the profession.  Spies who don't play these swamp games are starting to feel threatened, and you can bet they are getting word to the White House, perhaps via General Kelly.

Here's the other thing: Smith asked the White House what the deal was – and he got an ominous silence.  That's significant coming from a place that's pretty leak-happy.  Nobody wanted to say anything, not even to criticize Brennan and Clapper.  What that sounds like is something going on, some legal move to pull the clearances that can't be subject to media wars.

The perspective of the intelligence officials is very interesting.  When I used to meet U.S. Cabinet officials, from both the Bush and the earliest part of the Obama administrations, I recall that they were a circumspect lot.  Former President Bush's commerce secretary, Carlos Gutiérrez, was scrupulous about not politicizing his job.  Same with Bush's former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.  President Obama's early trade negotiator, Ron Kirk, came off as similarly ethically oriented.  They all seemed to understand that they were no longer in politics, but there only to serve the entire country.  There was a sense that they were holding the public trust.

You don't see that meticulousness with former Obama officials in the latter part of his administration.  Guys like Brennan and Clapper keep their clearances like some medieval sinecure; use those clearances to make money as "commentators" on CNN or wherever; bask in the prestige of having them; and leak from them for their own political ends.  This was never the purpose of anyone having a security clearance, which has always been to help the country.  Elad Hakim's fine analysis of this can be read here.

Since they aren't helping, why are they allowed any access to the nation's secrets at all?  It's a creepy benefit for them, from which the American people get absolutely nothing.  If we aren't getting anything from Clapper's or Brennan's "expertise" why are they given the time of day?  Might as well give everyone a clearance for all the good it does, because these vipers have them.  President Trump is right to hose the corrupt system out.

From Smith's report, it sounds as though they know they are on solid legal ground, and under the surface, things are moving.