President Trump stripped former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance this week. He received his share of criticism for the decision, including from some Republican lawmakers. Others, like U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Anthony Tata (Ret.), believes it was the right call. In the vein of Trump, he even gave Brennan a nickname: "Communist John Brennan," in reference to his once voting for a Communist Party candidate.
"I think that John Brennan is a clear and present danger and a threat to this nation," Tata said on "Fox & Friends" Thursday. "He supports the overthrow of this particular president, and he needed to have his access to information revoked."
Tata listed several apparent stains on Brennan's record, including his overseeing the Iran Deal, his "manipulating" ISIS intelligence for President Obama, and his "secret meetings" with Russia. Furthermore, Tata said, Brennan gave Harry Reid part of the infamous Trump dossier and he "spied on American citizens and lied to Congress about it."
Brennan's relationship with the Trump White House soured a long time ago. Trump has often questioned the intelligence community's integrity and for the last several months Brennan has used Twitter as a vehicle to hit back at the president. In his most recent messages, Brennan has accused the president of enforcing "short-sighted" policies, insisted he is no role model for children, and said that Trump has "failed to live up to minimum standards of decency."
It was shortly after that last tweet that the White House announced he was losing his security clearance. For Tata, he believes all anyone has to do is look at Brennan's tweets "to see he supports the removal of this president."
Brennan, however, thinks it's unfair to have been punished for speaking his political mind.
This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent. https://t.co/TNzOxhP9ux— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 15, 2018
When Trump was first considering revoking the clearances of Brennan and other former intelligence officials like former FBI Director James Comey, critics said it was unwise to do so because those former officials are sometimes invaluable when it comes to offering advice.
Rep. Pete King (R-NY) believes this is a poor argument in terms of Brennan, because he probably had little good advice to give.
"No one," King said, "would consult John Brennan in a crisis."
.@RepPeteKing: "The only purpose of maintaining a security clearance is if a president or the administration may want to consider you for consultation during a crisis. No one would consult John Brennan in a crisis." pic.twitter.com/WfArCSFdQA— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 16, 2018