Politics

Trump Should Revoke Abusers’ Security Clearances, McCarthy Says

Brennan, Clapper, Comey and others deserve to be stripped of them, former federal prosecutor insists

Anyone “who abuses their security clearance” to “politicize intelligence” or leak selective information should have their access pulled, according to former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.

“On the security clearances, I think anybody who abuses their security clearance — whether it’s to politicize intelligence or leak intelligence — if they find out that you did that, you should get your clearance yanked,” McCarthy told Fox News host Sean Hannity Monday. “I don’t like seeing the debate about it get politicized.”

McCarty is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who is now a contributing editor for National Review and a Fox News contributor.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders caused an uproar Monday by revealing during the daily press briefing that President Donald Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of six former Obama administration officials and one from the second Bush administration.

Related: Trump May Revoke Obama Spy Chiefs’ Security Clearances

Prior to Sanders’ announcement, Trump had met with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who advocated specifically for former CIA Director John Brennan’s clearance to be revoked.

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Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Michael Hayden, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe could be stripped of their security clearances.

Comey and McCabe were both fired from the FBI and say they lost their clearances as a result. Hayden, who served under President George W. Bush, tweeted Monday that he doesn’t attend security briefings now, so losing his access won’t change what he says in the media.

Sanders noted that “they’ve politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service and their security clearances, and making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate.”

McCarthy argued that Trump would be justified in revoking the six former officials’ security clearances because they lied to the American people or politicized their knowledge for personal gain.

“I think they weaponized the intelligence and the law enforcement apparatus of the government throughout the Obama administration,” McCarthy said.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) also supported revoking the clearances Monday during an interview on “Hannity,” although he argued that such an action wouldn’t be “going far enough.”

“If I have any complaint about what Sarah Sanders said today that the president thinks he’s going to do in terms of these people, it’s [that] he’s not going far enough,” Gingrich insisted. “He’s not being serious enough.”

If Clapper, Brennan and the others “were engaged in lying to the American people, why would they keep their secrecy?” Gingrich wondered. “Why would they be allowed clearance? And I think that it’s very important to get all the stuff out in the open.

“I think we ought to have a really serious look at all the different ways in which the Establishment grew more corrupt, more dishonest, more willing to lie to the American people. If I were to follow up with the president, it wouldn’t be for going too far.”

But McCarthy’s and Gingrich’s support for revoking the security clearances didn’t align with borderline-hysterical mainstream media reports and reactions to Sanders’ announcement.

Related: Former Intel Leaders Should ‘Keep Their Mouths Shut,’ FBI Veteran Warns

CNN host Wolf Blitzer worried Monday on “The Situation Room” that revoking Clapper clearance in particular would constitute a “potential national security threat.” Clapper is a national security analyst for CNN.

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt warned Monday that “the White House tonight is taking aim at several top-level national security officials who have been publicly critical of the president. Threatening to yank their security clearances. Stripping them of clearances, however, could be seen as an act of political retaliation by the president against his critics.”

NBC reporter Hallie Jackson worried during the briefing that revoking the clearances would constitute “an unprecedented threat aimed at some critics” of Trump’s. Brennan is an NBC national security and intelligence analyst.

“To critics, it’s not just Nixonian. It’s political punishment,” Jackson said on “NBC Nightly News.”

But Gingrich was unconcerned with mainstream media outlets’ worries.

“I have no doubt that The New York Times and The Washington Post and CBS News and all the other manifestations of Establishment are desperately seeking to prop up the corrupt system which fed them news stories, which took care of them, which made them feel like insiders,” Gingrich said. “And I have no doubt that this is really an all-out fight between the old order desperate in its dying phases and the desire of the American people for honesty.”

“And the fact is, starting with the president, we haven’t been tough enough, we haven’t been direct enough, we haven’t been focused enough. And I think if we were this whole thing would collapse in a matter of weeks, because it is so sick and the stench would be so great,” Gingrich added. “The only thing that is going to clean up Washington is the fresh air of accountability, transparency and honesty.”

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