Hayden: Trump revoking Brennan security clearance looks like 'threat' to change what former officials say about him

Hayden: Trump revoking Brennan security clearance looks like 'threat' to change what former officials say about him

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 former 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 appears to be a warning meant for other former officials to change what they say about him, according to former CIA chief Michael Hayden.

"The way that [White House press secretary] Sarah Huckabee Sanders rolled this out was almost in a tone to be threatening to the rest of us," Hayden said Wednesday on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"In other words, it looks to me like an attempt to make us change the things we are saying when we're asked questions on CNN or other networks," added Hayden, who also led the National Security Agency. 

The White House announced the controversial decision on Wednesday, accusing Brennan of using his status as a former security official to make “unfounded and outrageous” charges against the president.

“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos,” according to a statement from the president, read by Sanders during the day's press briefing.

Sanders, when asked by a reporter whether the president is penalizing Brennan for his critical remarks toward Trump, replied: “Not at all.” 

Hayden, who served as head of the CIA a few years before Brennan, said even if Trump intends to make Brennan an example to other former intelligence officials, he will not stop speaking out against the president's wrongdoings.

"If something's not right or not true, you have to point that out. And that implied threat isn't going to change what I think, say or write," Hayden told CNN's Jake Tapper. 

Asked to respond to the administration's claim that Brennan is being punished for displaying "erratic conduct and behavior," Hayden laughed, saying that there would be "a lot of other folks" they'd have to examine if that is the case.

"You seem to be suggesting, I'm reading into this, that President Trump has erratic behavior?" Tapper asked.

"Absolutely," Hayden replied.

Trump's decision to rescind Brennan's security clearance has been met with fierce blowback from other former government members like Hayden.

But the president appeared to receive some support from his allies in the House.

GOP Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanScarborough slams Jordan for spreading 'lies' about Fauci: 'It's sheer idiocy' Maxine Waters cuts off Jim Jordan, Fauci sparring at hearing: 'Shut your mouth' Fauci, Jim Jordan spar over pandemic restrictions MORE (Ohio), one of Congress's fiercest critics of the FBI and Justice Department, suggested in a tweet a list of other officials who also should have their clearance revoked.