Ex-CIA director 'would consider it an honor' if Trump revoked security clearance
© Getty

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says that he would be honored if President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE revoked his security clearance.

During an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Hayden said he "would consider it an honor" if the president also took away his security clearance "so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency." 

ADVERTISEMENT

Hayden’s remark came days after the president’s decision to pull former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanNew book: Putin tried to reinforce Trump’s belief in a ‘deep state’ undermining him Retired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump Rand Paul ramps up his alliance with Trump MORE’s security clearance. The move was widely regarded as an attempt to retaliate against a vocal critic of the administration and was met with considerable backlash from former top intelligence officials. 

Hayden has also been a harsh critic of Trump.

"Frankly, if his not revoking my clearance gave the impression that I somehow moved my commentary in a direction more acceptable to the White House,” Hayden said, “I would find that very disappointing and frankly unacceptable.”

Hayden, who also served as director of the National Security Agency during George W. Bush's presidency, was one of the many former top intelligence officials whose security clearances Trump has said he would consider revoking. That list includes many outspoken critics of the administration, including former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyRosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Gowdy: Declassified documents unlikely to change anyone's mind on Russia investigation Pompeo on Rosenstein bombshell: Maybe you just ought to find something else to do if you can't be on the team MORE, former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline Yates NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation New Yorker disinvites Bannon from festival following backlash MORE and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeHouse Judiciary chair threatens subpoena if DOJ doesn’t supply McCabe memos by Tuesday Rosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Graham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump MORE.

Days after Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance, a dozen former officials, including former CIA chiefs William Webster, George Tenet and Porter Goss, declared in a statement supporting Brennan that "security clearances should be based on national security concerns and not political views."

The statement was also signed by former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperNational security leaders: Trump's Iran strategy could spark war FBI memos detail ‘partisan axes,’ secret conflicts behind the Russia election meddling assessment Foreign hackers a legitimate concern for ballot machines, says cybersecurity expert MORE, former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin and former CIA Deputy Director David Cohen, among other former top intelligence officials.

"John's situation is a proximate cause for all of us signing letters and protesting," Hayden added. "I think it's kind of one additional straw that's breaking the camel's back. Our complaint is not just about this. It's about the whole tone, tenor, and behavior of the administration."

On Monday, more than 150 former officials signed a statement opposing Trump's decision to yank Brennan's security clearance.

The former officials said they do not necessarily agree with the Brennan's criticism of Trump or “the way in which he expressed them,” but argued the country will be “weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”