Cable TV personalities Mudd, Bash sign letter criticizing Trump
A number of cable news personalities including former FBI senior intelligence adviser Phil Mudd and former CIA and Defense Department chief of staff Jeremy Bash joined a list of 60 former intelligence officers on Friday denouncing President Trump’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.
In a statement, the group said ex-intelligence officials should have the right to express their opinions on national security matters without being punished.
“All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure,” the group wrote in a letter obtained by CNN. “But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so.”
The group added that they did not necessarily agree with Brennan’s opinions or his manner of expressing them.
“What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views,” they wrote.
Breaking: In new letter, 60 Fmr CIA officers protest Trump on clearances: “We believe equally strongly that former govt officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so” pic.twitter.com/D5UxhjrG3n
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) August 17, 2018
The letter from the former CIA officers comes just one day after 12 former top U.S. intelligence officials condemned Trump’s move in a statement.
“We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case,” the officials said.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Wednesday that Trump had revoked Brennan’s clearance because of Brennan’s “lying” and “increasingly frenzied commentary.”
Many seized on the move as indicative of Trump targeting public officials who are critical of him and his administration.
Trump later acknowledged to The Wall Street Journal that he drew a direct connection between special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible ties between his campaign and Russia, and his decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance.
Brennan has been one of Trump’s harsher critics and has continued to issue strong denouncements of the president since his clearance was revoked on Wednesday.
“Mr. Trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him, which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him,” Brennan wrote in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.