Trump considering retribution for public commentary he disagrees with

This sort of threat from Trump to punish commentary he doesn’t like could be a slippery slope to insidious attackson free speech.

Fox News 5 hours ago:  Rand Paul calls to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance, asks if he’s ‘monetizing’ access

CNN: Trump looking to revoke security clearances

President Donald Trump is considering stripping a number of former national security officials of their security clearances, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, calling their public commentary about the ongoing Russia probe inappropriate.

“They’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service,” Sanders said during a press briefing.

“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. “And making baseless accusations of an improper relationship with Russia is inappropriate.”

Sanders would not say when the President would make this decision; she said only that the White House would provide updates when it had them.

So at this stage just an unveiled threat to not say things Trump doesn’t want said.

The list of former officials under consideration includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, according to Sanders.

Why be selective? Why not gag all former officials? And revoke all security clearances. And intervene in investigations. That should fix a bit of bad press.

A decision to strip a former official of a security clearance would prove a striking use of presidential power.

“This is kind of a petty way of retribution for speaking out, I guess, against the President,” Clapper said on CNN in the immediate wake of Sanders’ announcement.

I don’t know what Clapper is allowed to say publicly, but a general public threat by the President is a dangerous threat to free speech.

Trump has a tendency to be intolerant of people who challenge his game playing.

59 Comments

  1. David

     /  July 24, 2018

    I was surprised that anyone who leaves is allowed access given most of them go on to work as consultants or TV talking heads. I would have thought it got revoked when you handed your security pass in…you know just in case you get a job with the Russians or something.

    • Gezza

       /  July 24, 2018

      I very much doubt that anyone with a security clearance is given access to classified material after they have left their job.

      I had a current security clearance to Top Secret level for some years after I left the Public Service. It didn’t need to be revoked, but in effect it would have been. I wouldn’t have been authorised to continue to see Top Secret information.

      This sounds like posturing to dummies.

      • Well, I wouldn’t have thought that anyone could keep having access. It would defeat the object of the exercise and they might as well set up a website for all to see.

    • Andy C

       /  July 24, 2018

      Security clearance takes a very long time to get, background checks, interviews etc. If its revoked then the process has to be done all over again if you ever need to get security clearance back.

      Revoking clearance means that person won’t be available in the future to assist the department. For example imagine an investigation turns up some new info and they want to ask the people originally on the case for their views or similar, if clearance was revoked then this couldn’t happen

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  July 24, 2018

      The context for security clearances: As a matter of public policy all former CIA, NSA, FBI, and DNI Directors and Cabinet members hold a security clearance since they might need to be consulted on important matters and so they can review their former files

  2. Patzcuaro

     /  July 24, 2018

    NEVER EVER CONTRADICT ME OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

  3. FarmerPete

     /  July 24, 2018

    Brennan and Clapper have been identified as leaking to the press and lying to congress about it. It is surprising that they still have their security privileges. The heading for this post is disingenuous. There has been no suggestion of blanket retribution for people who disagree with Trump, only withdrawal of security clearances for those who have shown to be dishonest and acting inappropriately.

    • Gezza

       /  July 24, 2018

      Who has said they still have security privileges? What do they actually mean?

      I would bet that none of these people have continued access to classified information in the government once they’ve left the job.

      Whether someone leaks it to them or talks about it to them is another matter altogether – but anyone identified as leaking this info would certainly be liable for prosecution.

      This is squirrel stuff. Maybe Mueller’s onto something?

      • FarmerPete

         /  July 24, 2018

        What it means is that they are permitted to discuss classified information with people who are still serving, not that they can access systems etc.

        • Gezza

           /  July 24, 2018

          Link?

          • FarmerPete

             /  July 24, 2018

            I read very widely on these topics. I can’t give you an exact source but it is widely accepted that the convention for top officials to keep their security status was mainly for the benefit of the new administration so that ex officials would be available for advice during the transition. That situation has worked until several Obama admin officials ( most notably Clapper and Brennan) have been found to have lied to congress and leaked classified information to the press. Given the hostility of these two in particular and the fact that both work for cable news companies revoking their security clearances seems to be a no brainer.
            Just as an aside since my comment earlier this am a US congressman from Idaho has been interview and said much the same.

        • Andy C

           /  July 24, 2018

          That’s correct FarmerPete, but only if they have permission to do so. I doesn’t mean they can rock up to anyone still serving and chat about the latest and greatest cases.

          • FarmerPete

             /  July 24, 2018

            Actually, it does mean just that. That is their value to their current employers (Cable news coys.). They are permitted to discuss classified matters with current staff. Whether those current staff take their calls or respond is another matter. I couldn’t see Wray wanting to speak to Comey, but Comey will still have FBI employees who will talk with him.

    • Andy C

       /  July 24, 2018

      I agree that Clapper should have been given the boot long ago Farmer, he was caught pants down lying to congress about their mass surveillance of american citizens. I get it that spies jobs are to tell lies, but you don’t get to lie to the one body that is in place to provide oversight on your activities.

  4. Zedd

     /  July 24, 2018

    does anyone (besides Corky ?) really care what MrT is tweeting; minute by minute.. hour by hour.. day by day etc.

    Even Winnie has openly cast scorn on it & threatened to sack any staffer who is following his nonsensical drivel ! 😀

    • Gezza

       /  July 24, 2018

      Al does, I think.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  July 24, 2018

        Hardly, I always tell you to watch the deeds instead.

        • Gezza

           /  July 24, 2018

          Probably the Russian Banks really own those?

    • Grimm

       /  July 24, 2018

      He has 53 million followers on Twitter.

      • Zedd

         /  July 24, 2018

        more fool them.. 😀

      • NOEL

         /  July 24, 2018

        Well behind Obama I hear?

        • Grimm

           /  July 24, 2018

          And Katie Perry. But nobody votes for them.

      • Griff

         /  July 24, 2018

        “”Eat shit. Twenty trillion flies can’t be wrong.
        —Bill Maher

        Argumentum ad populum (“argument to the people”) is a logical fallacy that occurs when something is considered to be true or good solely because it is popular. Undoubtedly many popular notions are true, but their truth is not a function of their popularity, except in circumstances where other factors ensure that popularity is related to truth. The fallacy is the opposite of an appeal to the minority.

        The fallacy is an appeal to authority and a conditional fallacy.

        • Grimm

           /  July 24, 2018

          The dude won the election for the presidency of the United States, you idiot.

          • Griff

             /  July 24, 2018

            He won the count in the distortion to true democracy that is the Electoral College and lost the democratic vote.
            His rating is presently about 42% approve 53% disapprove of his administration.
            As to idiot ?
            Google gives an interesting result.
            http://lmgtfy.com/?q=image+idiot

            • Grimm

               /  July 24, 2018

              A true marxist. Can’t win so bitch about the rules.

              You forgot to mention the Russians!

            • Griff

               /  July 24, 2018

              Yess .
              Marxist!!
              Empty snarl word .
              Marxist because I pointed out pure democracy is one man one vote.
              The USA has distortions in its democratic election systems.
              The senate vote is even worse when it comes to democracy 500,000 voters in one state have the same representation as 45,000,000 voters in another.

              If you think I am Marxist you are even more confused than I thought

            • Grimm

               /  July 24, 2018

              Marxist because you are left of Bomber Bradbury.

            • Griff

               /  July 24, 2018

              Actually I am to the right of trump economically my confused little friend.

              I am not a confused trumpie cheering for trade policy’s that are extremely destructive for NZ .

      • Zedd

         /  July 24, 2018

        perhaps half are ‘MSM reporters’ ?? & the rest are the ‘REAL hard core Alt-Right’

        • Grimm

           /  July 24, 2018

          Your question was “does anyone really care what Mr T is tweeting”

          Given how easy it is to unfollow someone on Twitter, it seems millions do.

          • Griff

             /  July 24, 2018

            I suggest you read the comments on his twitter feed if you think all 53,200,00 following on there are supporters .

            He tried to stop the laughter but the courts found he is not allowed to stop those placing negative comments on his twitter feed.

            • Grimm

               /  July 24, 2018

              Sophistry.

              The question was “does anyone really care what Mr T is tweeting”

              Think I nailed the answer, don’t you? Approx. 53 million.

            • FarmerPete

               /  July 24, 2018

              Actually Griff your talking points are not accurate. Just to take one, his approval rating is at 45% and is the highest for any president in recent history (including Obama) at this time of his presidency. This number is clearly driven by huge approval ratings amongst republicans (around 90%) but I guess you could argue this is much the same for any president. Just as an aside indictments are not convictions. As one pundit says it takes no skill to indict a ham sandwich (referring to the indictment of a catering company which dent exist at the time of the offences). Lets wait and see what the court results are.

            • Griff

               /  July 24, 2018

              Actually no you are gibbering Fake news .
              Trump has the lowest approval rating and highest disapproval rating of any president in living memory at this point .
              https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/
              https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html
              Being well supported among registered republican ignores that republican numbers have declined to only 26 percent of voters

            • Griff

               /  July 24, 2018

              Poor wee trumpies truth hurts.
              Note the decline in Republican membership is rather steep since trump won the nomination. Boasting he has 90% Republican support when he is decimating the party membership numbers is funny as.

              I will retract in living memory.
              Truman had a worse rating back in the early 50’s.

            • MaureenW

               /  July 24, 2018

              Ha, ha it must be a thing there at the moment – Comey is begging voters to dump the socialist left. Maybe none of the parties stand for anything – certainly the memberships appear easily transferable.

            • Griff

               /  July 24, 2018

              Dear dear
              Distortions.
              Reading fox or some other RWNJ source are we?
              Comey twitter
              Democrats, please, please don’t lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America’s great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership.
              1 day ago · Twitter

              Thought experiment: Make a list of all the public figures in this country and around the world the current president has criticized. Ask yourself: “Why is Putin missing from the list?” No responsible American should ever stop asking, “Why?”
              4 hours ago · Twitter

            • MaureenW

               /  July 24, 2018

              Yeah, so? That’s what I said. America’s great middle – that’s a laugh, and still playing the Putin card? Pathetic really.

    • Blazer

       /  July 24, 2018

      Al is the head …Trumpanzee on YNZ.

  5. NOEL

     /  July 24, 2018

    The old Official Secrets Act which was a blanket cloak is now replaced with legally binding individual confidentiality agreements. I don’t believe it matters when the information was obtained here.

    “in some cases monetized their public service”. Aw Don they weren’t running to the Russian Federal Security Service for a handout.

    .

  6. Zedd

     /  July 24, 2018

    I heard MrT has done 2 more ‘backflips’ on his tweets about ‘collusion with Russia’ & his recent meeting with ‘his buddy Vlad’ (MrP) 😀 😀

  7. Joe Bloggs

     /  July 24, 2018

    There’s some seeds of disinformation in the discussion so far so here’s some clarification.

    The context for security clearances: As a matter of public policy all former CIA, NSA, FBI, and DNI Directors and Cabinet members hold a security clearance since they might need to be consulted on important matters and so they can review their former files

    1. Comey doesn’t have a security clearance to revoke, nor does McCabe – both were read out when they left government

    2. Comey even recently declined a temporary clearance from the IG to read the classified annex to the IG’s recent report. He didn’t want to see any classified material because he feared that trump would just accuse him of leaking it.

    3. The zero-evidence claim they monetised their positions is laughable coming from the most monetised administration in history. Cases in point:
    – scott pruitt facing 13 formal investigations into corrupt practices
    – ryan zinke facing 11 investigations,
    – and minutes after Sanders’ press conference, trump himself was hawking his own campaign merchandise at an event down the hall.

    4. Hayden doesn’t even attend classified briefings so can’t ‘monetise’ his position even if he wanted to

    5. But the thing that these six people have in common is they are all witnesses against trump in an open criminal probe. So this proposed action of trump’s would discredit them over what they saw and what they potentially tell prosecutors.

    Trump won’t impose the sanctions on Russia that congress voted for but releases an “enemies list” of six of the top national security officials in America.

    “What he does is, he’s always looking for the diversion, always moving away from the real business of our country because he doesn’t know how to do the real business of our country.”
    – John Kerry, yesterday

    • Gezza

       /  July 24, 2018

      The difficulty I have with this is that John Kerry was an absolutely useless Secretary of State. Nobody had any respect for him at all. Putin & Lavrov & the Russian UN Ambassador walked all over him, rolled him up, & tossed him into history’s trash bin.

  8. Joe Bloggs

     /  July 24, 2018

    Jared Kushner was unavailable for comment.

  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 24, 2018
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  July 24, 2018

      That article perfectly described the situation and why the Dems are on the verge of losing the next Presidentai election… for Uni educated people some of them are incredible lacking in other critical faculties like common sense and wisdom, the just dont learn from experience and keep doubling down on the same failing tactics

      • Griff

         /  July 24, 2018

        Yess
        42% support for trump
        53 % disapproval.
        Hugely winning biggly the biggest biggly winner ever …EH.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 24, 2018

      Hardly. It’s not news that Trump is not a conservative or that he has thrown the Republican political elite off their perch. Except maybe to the blinkered Left.

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  July 24, 2018

        Oh ok – blinkered left, corrupt right, partisan as fuck, whatever.

        I simply thought that the juxtaposition the two articles a day apart was just too delicious to pass up. Kinda flew over your head though didn’t it.

  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 24, 2018

    I haven’t noticed lack of security clearance inhibiting former US intel bigwigs’ enthusiasm for discussing official secrets with reporters.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  July 24, 2018

      yup I’ll accept that. And I’m picking you probably haven’t noticed because you’ve got your head in the sand.