- The Washington Times
Sunday, August 19, 2018

Former intelligence officials may be outraged at President Trump’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John O. Brennan’s security clearance, but what stuns Rep. Kristi Noem is that there are another 5 million people who enjoy similar access.

Ms. Noem, the Republican candidate for governor of South Dakota, said Sunday that Mr. Brennan, who served under President Obama, said she found the number of people holding security clearances “astounding.”

“You know, obviously in this instance there was national security concerns,” said Ms. Noem on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “It appears that at times Brennan has put political purposes above national security. And I think what’s astounding to me is realizing that there’s over 5 million people in this country that have security clearances, so there’s a lot of folks out there with important information.”

Republican strategist Dick Morris had the same question, asking in a Western Journal op-ed, “Why do any former officials ever have a security clearance? And why should they mind so much when it’s terminated?”

He cited financial considerations, saying that government officials who hold security clearances have a competitive edge when it comes to top-paying jobs in the private sector.

Mr. Brennan, now an NBC and MSNBC commentator, has been an outspoken critic of President Trump’s, saying last month that he behavior in Helsinki was “nothing short of treasonous,” although he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Friday that, “I didn’t mean that he committed treason.”

Ms. Noem, who would be the first female South Dakota governor, said, “It’s important to know that the No. 1 priority needs to continue to be national security.”

“[I]f someone appears to have put political purposes above national security, then that’s grounds for review,” she said.

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