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 TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE's revocation of former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanJournalism or partisanship? The media's mistakes of 2016 continue in 2020 Comey on Clinton tweet: 'I regret only being involved in the 2016 election' Ex-CIA Director Brennan questioned for 8 hours in Durham review of Russia probe 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 ComeyDemocrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate Book: FBI sex crimes investigator helped trigger October 2016 public probe of Clinton emails Trump jabs at FBI director over testimony on Russia, antifa 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