Trump threatens ex-intel official’s clearance, citing comments on CNN
President Trump on Monday suggested he may pull the security clearance of former FBI official Phil Mudd after Mudd appeared on a heated CNN segment over the weekend to push back against the president’s revocation of clearances from other members of the intelligence community
Trump tweeted that he watched Mudd “become totally unglued and weird” during a debate with CNN analyst Paris Dennard on the president’s decision to revoke ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.
“Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance,” Trump said. “Should be REVOKED?”
Just watched former Intelligence Official Phillip Mudd become totally unglued and weird while debating wonderful @PARISDENNARD over Brennan’s Security Clearance. Dennard destroyed him but Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance. Should be REVOKED? @seanhannity
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2018
Trump tagged Fox News host Sean Hannity in the tweet as well. It was not immediately clear if Hannity replayed a clip of the back-and-forth between Mudd and Dennard, which originally aired on CNN on Friday night.
In the segment, Dennard agreed with Trump’s decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance and argued former intelligence officials keep their clearances “because it’s profitable for them after they leave government.”
“Profitable, Paris?” Mudd responded. “When I am requested to sit on an advisory board, let me ask you one question. How much do you think I’m paid to do that at the request of the U.S. government?”
“Answer the question,” he shouted.
Mudd, who worked under then-FBI Director Robert Mueller and spent three decades in the CIA and FBI, asserted he is not paid by the government when he provides consulting work and that he does not use his clearance for work in the private sector.
The two men continued to shout over each other, with Mudd growing more upset.
“We’re done, Jim,” Mudd said. “Get out. 25 years in the service and this is the shit I get? Get out.”
“Zero. I get zero dollars from consulting companies that deal with U.S. government. Are we clear?”
Counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd takes exception to commentator Paris Dennard’s suggestion that he benefits financially from his security clearance https://t.co/oyEZ3i3gKI pic.twitter.com/rA2OgcJ0re
— CNN (@CNN) August 18, 2018
Trump justified revoking Brennan’s clearance by saying in a statement that the former CIA chief has made “a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the internet and television — about this Administration.”
In addition to Brennan, Trump said he is considering revoking the clearances of a number of other former intelligence official and one current Justice Department employee.
Skeptics have noted that Trump has singled out individuals who have spoken out against him and have suggested the president may be using the clearances as a political tool to retaliate.
Dozens of ex-intelligence officials, including Mudd, have expressed support for Brennan in recent days and condemned Trump’s decision to revoke his clearance.
Michael Hayden, a former CIA director whose clearance Trump said he’s reviewing, responded to Trump’s tweet on Monday night calling Mudd a “hero” and a “counter terrorism giant.”
Phil’s a hero. Counter terrorism giant. I saw the same hit live on Friday. Saw it differently.
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) August 21, 2018
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