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Others Face Loss of Security Clearance 08/16 06:12

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday acted on a threat and 
revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, citing a 
constitutional responsibility to protect classified information. Brennan, who 
served in the Obama administration, had retained his security clearance, as is 
custom, but had also become an increasingly sharp critic of Trump's.

   Trump says he is reviewing security clearances for nine other individuals: 
James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew 
McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr. Some have been publicly critical 
of the president, while others are linked to special counsel Robert Mueller's 
investigation into Russian election interference.

   Trump calls the investigation a "witch hunt."

   A look at the 10 individuals:

   JOHN BRENNAN

   In a written statement, Trump cited "erratic conduct and behavior" by 
President Barack Obama's CIA director as justification for revoking Brennan's 
security clearance. Trump also accused Brennan of "lying" and "wild outbursts." 
At a news conference last month in Finland, Trump stood alongside Russian 
President Vladimir Putin and openly questioned U.S. intelligence agencies' 
conclusions that Moscow tried to influence the 2016 election in his favor. 
Afterward, Brennan criticized Trump's performance as "nothing short of 
treasonous" and accused him of being "wholly in the pocket of Putin."

   On Wednesday, Brennan tweeted a response to Trump's decision to revoke his 
security clearance: "This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to 
suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all 
Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking 
out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent."

   ____

   JAMES CLAPPER

   Clapper served Obama as director of national intelligence and has held key 
positions in the U.S. intelligence community. He has been critical of Trump and 
told CNN on Wednesday that he has no plans to stop speaking out when he's asked 
for his views on the Trump administration.

   "If they're saying that the only way I can speak is to be in an adulation 
mode of this president, I'm sorry. I don't think I can sign up to that," 
Clapper said.

   ___

   JAMES COMEY

   Trump fired Comey from his post as FBI director in May 2017 over the 
bureau's Russia investigation. Comey had also announced in July 2016 that the 
FBI would not recommend charges against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary 
Clinton for her email practices as Obama's secretary of state. Trump believes 
the investigation was handled unfairly because of what he alleges is political 
bias against him at the FBI. Comey does not have a security clearance; Trump 
said Comey may not be able to have it reinstated.

   On Wednesday, Comey tweeted a statement that said, in part: "Once again this 
president is sending a message that he will punish people who disagree with him 
and reward those who praise him. In a democracy, security clearances should not 
be used as pawns in a petty political game to distract voters from even bigger 
problems."

   ___

   MICHAEL HAYDEN

   The veteran U.S. intelligence official is a former director of the National 
Security Agency, principal deputy director of national intelligence and a past 
CIA director. He's also been critical of the president. Hayden said last month 
when the White House first issued the security clearance threat that losing it 
wouldn't affect what he says or writes.

   He published a book this year called "The Assault on Intelligence: American 
National Security in an Age of Lies."

   ___

   SALLY YATES

   Trump fired Yates early in 2017 after she refused to enforce the new 
president's ban on travel to the U.S. by residents of several mostly Muslim 
countries. Yates served in the Obama administration and had agreed to stay in 
the job under Trump. She also had informed the White House that Michael Flynn, 
Trump's first national security adviser, was potentially compromised because of 
his contacts with Russian officials. Trump allowed Flynn to keep his security 
clearance after Yates' disclosure but later fired Flynn, citing misstatements 
he said Flynn made to Vice President Mike Pence.

   Referring to Trump's summit with Putin, Yates tweeted, "Our President today 
not only chose a tyrant over his own Intel community, he chose Russia's 
interests over the country he is sworn to protect." Last December she tweeted, 
"The FBI is in "tatters"? No. The only thing in tatters is the President's 
respect for the rule of law."

   ___

   SUSAN RICE

   Rice was national security adviser during Obama's second term and has 
criticized Trump policies. She wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in July, 
saying the U.S. had "so much to lose and so little to gain" from the 
Trump-Putin summit --- "given this very atypical US President," she added in a 
tweet.

   ___

   ANDREW McCABE

   McCabe is a former FBI deputy director who led the investigation into 
Clinton's email practices. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe this 
year after FBI disciplinary officials and the Justice Department concluded he 
hadn't been candid during an inspector general investigation. Trump has alleged 
bias in the email investigation because McCabe's wife, Jill, ran as a Democrat 
for the Virginia state Senate in 2015 and accepted a campaign contribution from 
a longtime Clinton ally. But McCabe didn't become involved in the Clinton probe 
until after his wife's bid for elected office.

   ___

   PETER STRZOK

   The longtime FBI agent was recently fired from the bureau, his lawyer said 
this week. Strzok had worked on the Mueller investigation but was removed after 
anti-Trump text messages that Strzok exchanged with an FBI lawyer became 
public. Trump has used the text messages to buttress his claims that the FBI is 
biased against him.

   Strzok's lawyer, Aitan Goelman, said in a statement Wednesday that security 
clearances shouldn't be taken away as a means of "punishing people who have 
criticized the President, or coercing others into silence." He said by 
stripping Brennan's clearance and threatening others with the same fate, "the 
President has taken us down one more step on the path toward authoritarianism."

   ___

   LISA PAGE

   Page is the former FBI lawyer who exchanged anti-Trump text messages with 
Strzok. Trump has begun referring to Page as the "lovely Lisa Page" in his 
tweets about the Russia investigation.

   ___

   BRUCE OHR

   The Justice Department official has come under Republican scrutiny for his 
contacts with Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS. The opposition research 
firm hired former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 U.S. 
presidential campaign to compile a dossier of information on Trump and his ties 
to Russia. Ohr's wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS during the campaign --- a 
fact Trump has tweeted about in recent days to highlight his assertions of 
political bias as motivation for the Russia investigation.


(KA)

 
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