- The Washington Times
Monday, August 20, 2018

More than 175 former national security officials signed a letter Monday denouncing President Trump’s crackdown on security clearances.

“Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former CIA Director [John O.] Brennan or the way in which he expressed them,” the letter read. “What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”

Former CIA Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Shapiro shared the screenshots of the entire statement on Twitter.

The statement was originally published on Friday with only 60 signatories, just two days after former CIA director John Brennan lost his security clearance.

It follows another joint statement put out by former a dozen top members of the intelligence community on Friday accusing the president of “attempting to stifle free speech.”

“We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case,” they wrote.

Mr. Trump defended his decision to reconsider former officials’ security clearances by arguing they have politicized their privileged access to sensitive information.

Other former Obama-era officials who are at risk of losing their clearances, including former FBI Director James B. Comey, former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

On Friday, Mr. Trump said Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general, may be the next official stripped of his clearance.

Yet, Mr. Trump argues that this approach is not intended to silence anyone. He said that his actions have given Mr. Brennan a “bigger voice.”

“And that’s OK with me because I like taking on voices like that,” he told reporters outside the White House.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.