Clapper: 'Very petty' that Trump is considering revoking security clearances

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperAfghanistan disaster puts intelligence under scrutiny Domestic security is in disarray: We need a manager, now more than ever Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? MORE on Monday slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE for considering a revocation of his and other former intelligence officials' security clearances, calling it a "petty thing to do."

"The security clearance has nothing to do with how I, or any of us, feel about the president," Clapper said on CNN, where he is a contributor, moments after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump is considering taking away security clearances from him and other Obama administration officials who have been vocal critics of Trump since he took office.

"I don’t get the briefings, I don’t have access to any classified information," Clapper said, calling the continuing clearance a "courtesy" for former intelligence officials.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I don’t know what to say," he added. "I think this is just a very, very petty — a petty thing to do. And that’s about all I’ll say about it."

Clapper added that, typically, an official would go through a formal process in which their security clearance would be revoked or suspended because of an allegation of misuse or wrongdoing. He noted that the president does have the authority to unilaterally revoke clearances.

"If he chooses to do it for political reasons, well, that’s — I think that’s a terrible precedent and I think that’s a very sad commentary," Clapper said. "And it’s an abuse of the system."

During Monday's press briefing, Sanders said Trump is exploring removing the security clearance of Clapper, former CIA directors John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Still in the game: Will Durham's report throw a slow curveball at key political players? UFOs are an intriguing science problem; Congress must act accordingly MORE and Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice and former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyGiuliani told investigators it was OK to 'throw a fake' during campaign DOJ watchdog unable to determine if FBI fed Giuliani information ahead of 2016 election Biden sister has book deal, set to publish in April MORE.

She also named former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeAndrew McCabe says Nassar case represents 'worst dereliction of duty' he's seen at FBI Capitol Police warning of potential for violence during rally backing rioters: report McCabe says law enforcement should take upcoming right-wing rally 'very seriously' MORE, whose clearance was revoked when he was dismissed from the agency earlier this year.

All of the individuals named by Sanders served in the Obama administration, though Hayden also served in the George W. Bush administration and Comey served briefly in the Trump administration.

Sanders accused the former officials of “politicizing” and “monetizing” their public service.

"Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia, or being influenced by Russia, against the president is extremely inappropriate," she said. "And the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence."

Her comments followed a tweet from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment MORE (R-Ky.) that suggested Brennan should have his security clearance revoked.

Sanders did not provide a timetable for when the clearances might be revoked. She said she’s “not aware” of any plans to look at clearances of former President Obama or former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE.