Report: Intel Officials back revoking of Brennan, Clapper clearances

A new investigation from Real Clear Politics found that secretly Intelligence Officials support Trump revoking security clearances from certain Obama Era intelligence officials.


President Trump has been criticized for politicizing the intelligence community by threatening to strip the security clearances of former top officials including John Brennan and James Clapper. But numerous past and present senior intelligence officials say that the Obama administration started the politicization — and that revoking the clearances of those who abuse the privilege for partisan purposes may help right the ship.

“As is often the case with the Trump administration, the rollout of the policy is bad, but the idea driving the policy is sound,” said one senior intelligence official who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke to RealClearInvestigations only on condition of anonymity. “Under some Obama-era intelligence chiefs, intelligence was used as a political weapon. We need to root that out, not reward it.”

The report continues

Some sources say former CIA director Brennan, ex-director of national intelligence Clapper and others with security clearances were emboldened to pursue political agendas through the anti-Trump media, in a climate of impunity created by the Justice Department’s failure to prosecute leaks attending Donald Trump’s election. Notable among the leaks, they said, was a top unnamed official’s “unmasking” of Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn in a January 2017 Washington Post column by David Ignatius, sourced to classified intercepts of Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador. Leaking such classified information is a felony.

“The very people who are now talking the most know the details of how the Flynn intercept was leaked,” a senior U.S. official told RealClearInvestigations. “They wouldn’t be out talking like that if they’d been interviewed by the FBI.” The Department of Justice declined to comment.


Security clearances are commonly extended for the top leaders of the intelligence community after they leave their jobs, on the rare chance that they should be called upon to consult with their successors.

“The Trump administration is not going to call in Susan Rice for advice, never mind John Brennan,” said one active intelligence officer. “And if someone does get called in from a previous administration they can get a temporary clearance, akin to a one-day non-disclosure agreement.”


Revoking security clearances would curtail the ex-officials’ ability to use for partisan ends the resources and institutions of the federal government, including classified intelligence. Published reports show that Obama-era intelligence officials embarked on this course even while they were in government.

Brennan and Clapper’s government records are tarnished by improprieties and abuses that they have been reluctant to acknowledge. Brennan was compelled to apologize to the Senate Intelligence Committee after it was discovered the CIA searched the computers of Senate staffers. The Obama administration used the foreign intelligence surveillance system to spy on congressional critics of the Iran nuclear deal as well as pro-Israel activists.


With Clapper’s subsequent hiring as a national security consultant at CNN, Senator Paul and other conservatives argued that the media was effectively monetizing access to classified intelligence. “If they still have clearances, former colleagues still active may be passing them information,” says an acting intelligence official.

Another concern is that the emerging relationship between the press and the intelligence community may inspire active intelligence officers to leak to preferred news organizations with an eye to a job after retirement. “The situation,” says the official, “is ripe for abuse.”


The issue, according to RCI’s sources, is that the growing alignment between anti-Trump media and former spy chiefs will further politicize intelligence, thereby compromising national security while continuing to fragment an already divided American public. All the while, the intelligence community is squandering the confidence of those they are sworn to serve.

“Brennan and Clapper and others certainly have the right to say what they like,” former CIA case officer Daniel Hoffman told RCI.  “And their statements protected by the freedom of speech we enjoy in the U.S. are a measure of how concerned they are about this president. But while they get a favorable response from the ‘Amen’ chorus of Trump opponents, we should also consider the risk they are taking of feeding Trump’s speculation they were partisan officials who sought to do him harm.” 

These sources outline what many in Conservative media have claimed for quite some time. Brennan and Clapper have been using their security clearances to try and overthrow Donald Trump. They have partnered up with the Mainstream Media and have begun using each other to keep Trump off balance.

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