John Brennan, who headed the US’ Central Intelligence Agency from 2013-2017, has had his Top Secret security clearance revoked. The move comes shortly after the FBI fired Peter Strzok, who handled and botched the Hillary Clinton email investigation, for his on the job opinions of the President and several serious, perhaps seditious text messages sent to colleagues that he cannot explain away. Either from impulse or anger, he quickly hopped on Twitter to defend his reputation and attempted to paint the decision as somehow related to the Russia conspiracy:
This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent. https://t.co/TNzOxhP9ux
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 15, 2018
Brennan argued that Trump is trying to “scare critics into silence” because he had his security clearance revoked. There are a few problems with the former intelligence director’s theory, though. For example, how does the loss of a security clearance prevent Mr. Brennan from speaking down about President Trump and his policies, as he has at every step of this administration? Simply, it doesn’t. Don’t feel too bad for John Brennan, either. He’s doing quite well for himself. He’s regularly featured for paid opinions on the New York Times, CNN, and others. In fact, shortly after being righteously dismissed from the CIA in January 2017, he was hired by NBC to act as a “senior intelligence commmentator.” That should set off alarm bells blaring in your head.
More accurately, the loss of his security clearance means that John Brennan can no longer so easily cash in on state secrets and privileged exchanges that he’s happy and eager to unethically / unlawfully share with the opposition mainstream media. The only reason his friends in the corporate media are extremely angry that this happened is because they can no longer purport he has “inside knowledge.” The loss of privileged information, and the allure of a commentator with a security clearance, loses them clicks, which loses them money and influence. Money and influence makes the world go around – especially the mainstream corporate media.
Why does a former official need a security clearance, anyways? Not considering their public and private actions, which in John Brennan’s case were horrendous – potentially monetizing privileged information – there’s no good argument for letting officials keep their clearances once they’re done doing their jobs. Letting them keep clearances past the completion of their duties fosters an environment where officials can easily profit by giving away secrets, either to enemies or the media. This is not helped by a lack of prosecutions against high-level officials, especially Hillary Clinton. It’s almost as if a two-tiered justice system exists, which emboldens those who make it to the top to believe and act as if they are untouchable.
In conclusion, John Brennan had no place having a security clearance. His new gig at NBC and features on the NYT, CNN, and others keep his lights on as long as he has plenty of bad things to say about the President irregardless of the truth and to hell with decency. Taking his security clearance erases the risk of state secrets and privileged information making it into the wrong corporate or hostile hands, and sends a message to all others of a similar stature: You are being watched very carefully, and your your attempts to monetize or disclose privileged information, or misuse a security clearance for fame and recognition, will not be tolerated.
White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders has said that several other prominent officials are having their clearances reviewed, including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey. It’s safe to assume that more people will lose their privileged access to the core of American intelligence – which is a good thing. They do not need it.