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Panetta: Trump may not have authority to revoke Brennan's security clearance

Panetta: Trump may not have authority to revoke Brennan's security clearance
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Former CIA Director Leon Panetta on Sunday suggested that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE might not have had the authority 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.

Panetta, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” pointed to executive order 12968, an order signed by former President Clinton and updated by former President George W. Bush.

“I think there are questions raised as to whether or not this president has followed the executive order, and whether or not he’s provided due process to those that are going to have their security clearances revoked,” Panetta said.

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Panetta added that Trump is required to abide by the executive order “unless he’s prepared to change it.”

“This president is not above the law,” Panetta said.

Panetta, who was CIA director under former President Obama from 2009 to 2011, became the latest former intelligence official to question Trump since the president revoked Brennan’s security clearance last week. The move was widely viewed as an act of retaliation against Brennan, who has often publicly criticized Trump.

Panetta also said Sunday that he’s concerned that Trump will revoke other security clearances in the midst of a “bad news day” in an effort to change news cycles. Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s clearance dominated a news cycle that had previously been focused on Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Manigault NewmanTanden seeks to defuse GOP tensions over tweets Juan Williams: The GOP's problem with women of color Trump administration sought to sue Omarosa after she announced tell-all book: report MORE and her series of claims about the Trump administration.

“I think that’s a real misuse of not only security clearances, but a misuse of the office of the presidency,” he said.

—This report was updated at 11:49 a.m.