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Clapper: Trump revoking Brennan's security clearance is an 'infringement' on free speech

Clapper: Trump revoking Brennan's security clearance is an 'infringement' on free speech
© Greg Nash

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert Clapper140 national security leaders call for 9/11-style panel to review Jan. 6 attack The biggest example of media malfeasance in 2020 is... Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community MORE said Wednesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE's decision to revoke ex-CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal Online and frighteningly real: 'A Taste of Armageddon' MORE’s security clearance is an infringement of Brennan's First Amendment rights. 

"Will the republic stand or fall on whether John retains his access to classified information? Of course not," Clapper said on CNN shortly after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the announcement

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"The larger issue here, to me, throughout has been an infringement of First Amendment rights. And I think people ought to think seriously about that," he said.

In addition to revoking Brennan's security clearance, Sanders also announced that the Trump administration is reviewing access to classified information for Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, among others.

"As the head of the executive branch and the commander in chief, I have a unique constitutional responsibility to protect the nation's classified information, including by controlling access to it," Trump said in the statement read by Sanders. 

Many of the officials who were named have frequently criticized the president throughout his time in office. Brennan has been particularly hostile, tweeting on Tuesday that Trump would never understand what it means to be president after he insulted a former White House aide as a "lowlife" and a "dog."

Clapper said on CNN that he has consulted with some senior members of the Trump administration since leaving the government in January 2017. But he added that he does not have any access to current intelligence. 

He would not name the officials he's spoken to since leaving his government position. 

The announcement from Sanders on Wednesday comes almost a month after the administration first announced it was considering taking this step for former intelligence officials. 

Clapper said at the time that it was a "very petty thing to do" and that it represented an "abuse of the system."