Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on CNN Thursday that President Donald Trump sent the intelligence community a “chilling message” when he revoked John Brennan’s security clearance.
The former CIA director who accused Trump of treason in July had his credentials pulled by the White House Wednesday after the administration announced it would be reviewing the clearance of other former Obama officials. (RELATED: Trump Revokes Ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s Security Clearance)
“I think once you are not in an official position, you’re free to speak your mind and that’s one of the great … strengths of the country,” Clapper said on “New Day.” “I think there is such a thing as kind of loyal opposition here.”
Clapper claimed the main issue in the clearance debate is freedom of speech and said Trump is silencing the First Amendment rights of the intelligence community.
“That to me is the larger implication here with this revocation of John’s eligibility and the threat for the others, myself included,” he said.
“The larger implication here is the jeopardy to our First Amendment rights, and by extension others. And by the way, there is a very chilling message here to people in the intelligence community. If you tee up intelligence that the president doesn’t like, you may risk losing your clearance and thereby your job.”
Clapper also claimed former government officials tend to draw information from their “corporate memory” after they leave office and said it doesn’t compare to accessing current classified information.
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