Former CIA director John Brennan suggested Sunday that he won’t take the nixing of his security clearance sitting down. In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Brennan said he’s considering his options to make sure President Donald Trump doesn’t follow the same script with others. Brennan said he had “been contacted by a number of lawyers” who gave him “their thoughts about the basis for a complaint, an injunction to try and prevent him from doing this in the future.”
“If my clearances and my reputation—as I’m being pulled through the mud right now—if that’s the price I have to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this to other people, to me, that’s a small price to pay,” Brennan said. “If it means going to court, I will do that.”
More than a dozen former top intelligence officials criticized the move to strip Brennan of his security clearance, which the former CIA chief characterized as an example of how Trump is “fueling and feeding divisiveness in our country.” Brennan said the senior officials who surround Trump need to ask themselves whether they can continue serving his administration.
“At some point … these senior officials have to ask themselves, are they enabling this continued abusive and reckless behavior or not?” Brennan said. “And if they feel as though they’re enabling it, and they’re not having that type of governing influence on it, I think they have to show their displeasure and their unhappiness and leave.”
For now though, White House aides that are speaking up are defending the move. National security adviser John Bolton, for example, said it was appropriate for the president to carry out a broad review that could result in revoking even more security clearances. “I think it’s certainly appropriate in a time when we’re seeing what I believe are unprecedented leaks of highly classified information to look at the question of how many people have clearances, how many people receive this very sensitive information, both inside the government and in the case of former officials,” Bolton said on ABC’s This Week. “I don’t see that there would be anything wrong if it were determined to go that way to review the policies about former officials having clearances.”
Support our journalism
Help us continue covering the news and issues important to you—and get ad-free podcasts and bonus segments, members-only content, and other great benefits.Join Slate Plus