Earlier this week (seriously, just this week), the mainstream media got its undies in a wad over talk that President Trump planned to revoke the security clearances of some high-level former intelligence officials.
The story began on Monday, when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he’s going to ask Trump to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance (the guy who keeps calling every action by Trump “treason”).
“Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump,” the Kentucky Republican wrote on Twitter. “Today I will meet with the President and I will ask him to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance.”
Of course, the MSM and liberals across the nation were outraged. How dare Trump take away security clearances for people who no longer work for the federal government!, they cried. The proposed move is just another example of Trump trying to be king, they screeched.
The story, of course, died in a couple days as the MSM moved on to the next Outrage Of The Day. But with just a little reporting, we at The Daily Wire have found that former President Barack Obama wanted to do exactly the same thing — and a former Obama intelligence official (who now thinks the idea is, again, treasonous) thought it was a good plan.
“W.H. looks to scrub clearance list,” Politico wrote in November 2013.
The Obama administration has ordered a government-wide reassessment of how almost 5 million Americans have been granted classified information security clearances and whether each person currently approved to see sensitive national security secrets truly has a need for such access.
Reeling from National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks of top-secret surveillance programs and mentally computer contractor Aaron Alexis’s deadly shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, the intelligence community is coming to the conclusion that the sheer number of personnel with clearances is making the government and the country as a whole vulnerable to a slew of dangers.
In a directive obtained by POLITICO, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper questioned the booming rolls of security-clearance holders. At last count, more than 4.9 million people held clearances, of whom over 1.4 million were cleared for access at the “Top Secret” level.
Hilarious, because James Clapper, director of National Intelligence throughout most of Obama’s two terms, thinks Trump’s plan is a terrible idea.
Clapper, in case you don’t remember, leaked the anti-Trump dossier to CNN’s Jake Tapper and helped orchestrate a meeting between former FBI Director James Comey and Trump, which was later leaked to CNN and used as their “news hook” to launch the media’s “Russia” narrative. Clapper also lied to Congress about leaking information to Tapper and then was rewarded with a contract at CNN a few months later.
On Monday, Clapper — appearing on CNN, of course — slammed Trump’s plan: “This is just a very, very petty thing to do. And that’s about all I’ll say about it.”
Back in 2013, when Obama broached the subject, Clapper said: “When it is determined that access to classified information is no longer required, the department or agency shall terminate such access and debrief the individual.”
What’s more, an NBC reporter affirmed Paul’s suspicion that some former intelligence officials are cashing in on their access.
Ken Dilanian, an intelligence and national security reporter, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “Security clearances are a valuable commodity. By making this threat, @realdonaldtrump is seeking to levy a financial penalty on @johnbrennan and Clapper. There are always public policy reasons that former intel leaders remain cleared — so they can help their successors.”
David Martosko, the White House reporter for the Daily Mail, called him out, saying: “Wait — how can removing Brennan’s and Clapper’s security clearances result in a “financial penalty” if they’re not earning money from them? Doesn’t this make the White House’s claim substantially true?”
And finally, there’s the obvious point that runs opposite of Dilanian’s: What if those former intel leaders are actively working against the president? Is Trump beholden to keep their security clearances in place, even if they’re abusing their power?
The clear answer is no.
But none of it matters. The MSM just needed something to be outraged about, and very few if any reporters are going to bother to examine the matter further.
But now YOU know.