Clapper: Security clearance review is 'petty'

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reacts to news that President Donald Trump may revoke the security clearance for former leaders of the intelligence community.

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 11:00 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2018 11:13 AM

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says President Donald Trump's consideration of revoking his and several other former national security officials' security clearances is a "very, very petty thing to do."

In an interview with CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Monday, Clapper was asked for his response to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders' bombshell that the White House was considering revoking his and five other former national security officials' clearances.

"I think this is just a very, very petty thing to do," Clapper said.

Sanders said Monday that Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe are under consideration to have their clearances stripped.

"The President is exploring these mechanisms to remove security clearance because they've politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and their security clearances," Sanders said. She added that "making baseless accusations" of any improper relationship with Russia is "inappropriate."

When asked about the process for removing the security clearances of former officials, Clapper said it was within the President's power to do so.

"There is a formal process for doing this," Clapper said. "But you know, I guess, legally the President has that prerogative, and he can suspend and revoke clearances as he sees fit. If he chooses to do it for political reasons, I think that's a terrible precedent, and it's a really sad commentary and it's an abuse of the system."

On CNN's "The Situation Room" later Monday, Clapper said revoking clearances of intelligence officials critical of the President was "chilling."

"If ... when someone applies for security clearance, are they going to add to the Standard Form 86 a pledge of allegiance to President Trump? Unswerving, uncompromising, complete loyalty to the President as a new criteria for a clearance? That's a pretty chilling thing," Clapper said, referring to a questionnaire used when applying for national security positions.

Later, on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Clapper said, "I didn't know what to make of it at first and was a bit speechless, to tell you the truth. I think after having reflected on it, to me, I think this is a real abuse of the clearance system, just to use it to attack political opponents or people that have been critical of the President."

He added, "It has all kinds of First Amendment implications, which are deeply disturbing."

Clapper confirmed to CNN last week that he and other intelligence officials briefed Trump on Russian President Vladimir Putin's ordering of cyberattacks to attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election. Clapper has frequently criticized Trump's behavior towards Russia, including his comments in a news conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, last week.

Standing beside Putin, Trump did little to counter the Russian leader's denials and show support for the US intelligence community's findings that Russia meddled in the election.

"I've been trying my best to give the President the benefit of the doubt and always expressed potential other theories as to why he behaves as he does with respect to Russia generally and Putin specifically," Clapper told CNN Thursday.

"But more and more I come to a conclusion after the Helsinki performance and since, that I really do wonder if the Russians have something on him."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 77565

Reported Deaths: 3105
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16304733
Lake7840283
Elkhart499287
Allen4103164
St. Joseph368183
Hamilton2941104
Vanderburgh208215
Hendricks1972109
Cass18099
Johnson1800119
Porter139139
Clark133350
Tippecanoe126312
Madison104866
LaPorte95730
Howard93865
Kosciusko87212
Bartholomew84447
Floyd83750
Marshall80123
Monroe77732
Delaware76852
Vigo75213
Dubois71812
Noble70829
Boone70446
Hancock69439
Jackson6065
Warrick60030
Shelby57228
LaGrange56910
Grant53230
Dearborn52228
Morgan49235
Henry46020
Clinton4564
Wayne40210
White38011
Montgomery36321
Lawrence35827
Harrison35524
Decatur34732
Putnam3288
Daviess28420
Miami2792
Scott27810
Jasper2592
Greene25634
Franklin24915
Gibson2434
DeKalb2424
Jennings23212
Ripley2208
Steuben2173
Fayette2057
Carroll2033
Perry18813
Posey1810
Starke1817
Orange17924
Wabash1795
Wells1782
Fulton1742
Jefferson1722
Knox1681
Whitley1606
Tipton15416
Sullivan1521
Washington1481
Clay1415
Spencer1393
Randolph1325
Huntington1303
Newton12110
Adams1202
Owen1101
Jay940
Rush914
Pulaski841
Fountain762
Brown752
Blackford662
Pike660
Ohio656
Benton630
Vermillion610
Parke591
Switzerland560
Martin500
Crawford480
Union410
Warren251
Unassigned0207

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 105426

Reported Deaths: 3755
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin19124533
Cuyahoga13999519
Hamilton9917260
Lucas5544324
Montgomery4544101
Summit3712224
Butler307064
Marion295245
Mahoning2644258
Pickaway240442
Stark1931142
Warren187739
Lorain186777
Columbiana169960
Trumbull1578111
Fairfield144933
Delaware137819
Licking136751
Clark121815
Lake115443
Wood110158
Clermont98111
Medina97736
Miami88139
Allen81746
Tuscarawas80114
Portage78063
Greene74212
Mercer66813
Belmont62826
Richland62612
Erie61928
Ashtabula58046
Madison58010
Wayne56759
Geauga56545
Ross5204
Darke42529
Huron4135
Hancock4103
Sandusky40717
Ottawa40527
Athens3642
Holmes3316
Lawrence3230
Auglaize2866
Union2771
Scioto2601
Muskingum2561
Seneca2424
Jefferson2403
Preble2192
Shelby2194
Knox2189
Putnam21517
Washington21222
Coshocton1999
Champaign1922
Morrow1852
Hardin18012
Crawford1775
Clinton1746
Highland1692
Logan1692
Perry1643
Fulton1581
Ashland1563
Defiance1554
Wyandot1559
Brown1502
Williams1393
Fayette1260
Henry1242
Hocking1229
Guernsey1217
Carroll1145
Monroe9418
Pike800
Gallia781
Jackson780
Van Wert732
Paulding720
Adams682
Meigs630
Vinton322
Morgan310
Harrison261
Noble190
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
64° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
64° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Weekend Storm Chances
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events