Ex-CIA chief on Trump stripping critics of their security clearances: 'You just can't let that stand'

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden in an interview that aired Friday pushed back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE's revocation of former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanTrailer shows first look at Annette Bening as Dianne Feinstein Webb: Questions for Robert Mueller A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats MORE's security clearances.

"The issue here is not whether John Brennan, or Mike Hayden, or Jim Clapper kind of goes over the edge in personalizing criticism of the president," Hayden, who has criticized Trump in the past, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising."

"The issue here is, is it a good idea to allow the president of the United States to take from an American something he or she would otherwise have, and to do it because the president disagrees with their political speech," he continued. 

"When you put it that way, I think the question answers itself. You just can't let that stand," he said. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced last week that the president was taking away Brennan's security clearance while accusing the former Obama administration official of using his status as a former CIA chief to make “unfounded and outrageous” comments about the administration.

Trump is also reviewing the security clearances of Hayden, as well as former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces Sarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE and Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr.

Other critics have said the move poses a threat to free speech and those who publicly disagree with the president. 

Comey said the move sends "a message that he will punish people who disagree with him and reward those who praise him.”

— Julia Manchester