The charges: “erratic conduct and behavior”; making “a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations—wild outbursts on the internet and television”; engaging in “frenzied commentary”; and facilitating “the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos.” If you thought someone was criticizing President Trump, and this travesty of a presidency, you’d be wrong, though forgiven for the mistake. The president delivered (projected?) those charges against former CIA Director, John Brennan, then revoked his security clearance.
The president has revealed his own enemies list and attacked several other former government officials whose security clearances he’s considering pulling, among them James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence; Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA, in addition to other intelligence services; Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor; and Bruce Ohr, the only person currently employed by the government (Justice Department, Criminal Division).
President Trump stepped outside the normal revocation procedure and simply withdrew Brennan’s security clearance himself. Ordinarily, revoking a security clearance would begin in the agency of which Mr. Brennan was once a part, in this case the CIA, but the agency had initiated no action against Mr. Brennan—he’s revealed no classified information—and directed questions back to the White House.
Former intelligence officials keep their security clearances in case present-day officials need to consult with them about past policies and actions, and how they inform the present.
None of this is to say that Mr. Brennan hasn’t participated in the president’s politicization of the intelligence agencies. In his manner of saying the things he’s said publicly about the president, however much people agree with him, Brennan may have lowered himself to Trump’s level. The Dozens is Trump’s game; it’s foolhardy to take him on. Just ask Marco Rubio.
For former and present government officials, best practice may be Mr. Mueller’s steady, quiet plodding.