Former U.S. security leaders blast Trump for yanking John Brennan’s clearance

According to the Post, a White House official acknowledged that the revocation of Brennan's clearance had been prepared in July, but was released this week to distract attention from media coverage of the former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman's scathing memoir about her time at the White House. Plus, Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's fate lies in the hands of a deliberating jury.

Trump added that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also "highly conflicted".

Writing in The Washington Post, William H. McRaven said he would "consider it an honour" if Mr Trump would revoke his clearance, as well.

The signees included seven former CIA directors, six former CIA deputy directors and two former national intelligence directors, James Clapper and retired Navy Admiral Denny Blair.

"You don't have to agree with what John Brennan says (and, again, not all of us do) to agree with his right to say it, subject to his obligation to protect classified information", it continues.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Trump fired back. Trump cited "risks" posed by Brennan's alleged "erratic conduct and behaviour" in revoking his security clearance. "But I can tell you, having worked in the national security and intelligence community for many, many years - these are not the type of people who are bullied or intimidated by the likes of someone of Mr. Trump".

The White House said Wednesday that security clearances are under review for former U.S. National Intelligence director James Clapper, former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, former Obama administration National Security advisor Susan Rice, former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

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In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump admitted that his decision on Brennan's clearance was linked to the federal investigation, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation to influence the 2016 election.

Russian Federation denies having meddled in the 2016 election, but three USA intelligence agencies reported in January 2017 that Moscow had intervened and tried to help Trump beat Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"Decisions on security clearances should be based on national security and not political views".

Trump announced on Wednesday that he was stripping Brennan, who has been an outspoken critic of the President, of his security clearance and accused the former Central Intelligence Agency director of "lying" and giving "increasingly frenzied commentary" on television.

"I've never respected him", Trump said.

Brennan also told Maddow that he was considering his legal options after Trump pulled the security clearance "to prevent this type of abuse by Donald Trump in the future". And that's OK with me, because I like taking on voices like that.

In an interview with NPR's All Things Considered, Hayden said the decision was purely political, and that the White House had revoked Brennan's clearance "as a punitive measure because the president did not like what John was saying about him".

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