More former national security officials join outcry over security clearances

More former national security officials join outcry over security clearances
© Greg Nash

Dozens of former national security officials have joined the chorus condemning President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanNew book: Putin tried to reinforce Trump’s belief in a ‘deep state’ undermining him Retired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump Rand Paul ramps up his alliance with Trump MORE’s security clearance.

More than 150 former officials signed a brief statement Monday concurring with other recent statements opposing the “actual or threatened removal of security clearances from former government officials.”

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“All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure,” the statement reads. “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 statement notes that the officials do not necessarily agree with Brennan’s harsh criticism of Trump or “the way in which he expressed them,” but says that the country will be “weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”

The Monday statement follows a statement from a dozen former officials, including past CIA directors, calling Trump’s move "inappropriate and deeply regrettable.”

Trump announced last week that he was revoking Brennan’s clearance, saying through press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that the former CIA chief’s "lying" and "increasingly frenzied commentary" meant his security clearance was a threat to national security.

“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,” Trump said.

The president is reviewing security clearances for a number of other former officials who have been critical of his administration, including former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Comey: Mueller may be in 'fourth quarter' of Russia probe READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV MORE and former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesTime for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation New Yorker disinvites Bannon from festival following backlash White House confirms Brennan's security clearance has been revoked MORE. Former officials typically keep their clearances in order to provide counsel to their successors.

Brennan, one of the most outspoken critics of the president, has said that he is willing to take legal action to prevent Trump from revoking other security clearances.