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Hayden: Wouldn't mind if clearance is revoked

Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden said he'd be happy to join the group of former intelligence officials having their security clearances revoked by the Trump administration.

Posted: Aug 20, 2018 10:48 AM
Updated: Aug 20, 2018 10:48 AM

Former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden said Sunday that he'd be fine with having his security clearance revoked, as President Donald Trump threatened to do to him and other former intelligence officials who have been critical of the President.

Hayden made the comment on CNN's "State of the Union" when asked about a recent op-ed from retired Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In his piece, McRaven issued a stunning rebuke of Trump's decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, whom the former naval officer called "a man of unparalleled integrity." He added that he "would consider it an honor" if Trump also took away his clearance "so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency."

Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper if he too would be honored to lose his security clearance, Hayden said, "Well, to be included in that group? Sure."

"And frankly, if his not revoking my clearance gave the impression that I somehow moved my commentary in a direction more acceptable to the White House, I would find that very disappointing and frankly unacceptable," Hayden, a frequent critic of Trump, added.

Hayden, who served as NSA director mostly during President George W. Bush's tenure, as well as for a time during President Bill Clinton's second term, and as CIA director under both Bush and President Barack Obama, emphasized that McRaven's op-ed made "a larger, broader comment on why he's upset with the administration."

"John's situation is a proximate cause for all of us signing letters and protesting," he continued. "I think it's kind of one additional straw that's breaking the camel's back. Our complaint is not just about this. It's about the whole tone, tenor, and behavior of the administration."

The intelligence chiefs react

Trump said last week that he is considering revoking the security clearances of several others besides Brennan, including Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, former FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, and Bruce Ohr, a current Justice Department official.

Brennan and several other former intelligence chiefs have been outspoken in their criticism of the President. In July, Brennan called Trump's actions alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin in a news conference after their summit in Helsinki, Finland, "nothing short of treasonous."

Following his one-on-one meeting with Putin, Trump declined to endorse the US intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election over Putin's denial, saying the Russian President was "extremely strong and powerful" in his denial.

On Sunday, Brennan said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he stood by his comments. He also said that he might escalate to legal action against the executive branch regarding the revocation of his security clearance.

"If my clearances and my reputation, as I'm being pulled through the mud now, if that's the price we're going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me it's a small price to pay," Brennan said. "So I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future, and if it means going to court, I will do that."

White House national security adviser John Bolton defended Trump's decision to revoke Brennan's clearance.

"There is a line and somebody can cross it," Bolton told ABC's "This Week," later adding, "I think a number of people have commented that he couldn't be in the position he's in of criticizing President Trump and his so-called collusion with Russia unless he did use classified information. But I don't know the specifics. What I do know was when he was director of CIA, I was very troubled by his conduct, by statements he made in public and by what I thought was his politicization of the intelligence community."

Clapper said Sunday on "State of the Union" that he does see Brennan's hyperbole as part of the issue, but reemphasized a larger concern.

"I think it is," Clapper said when asked if Brennan's hyperbole was an issue. "I think John is sort of like a freight train, and he's going to say what's on his mind. I think, though, that the common denominator among all of us that have been speaking up, though, is a genuine concern about the jeopardy or threats to our institutions and values, and although we may express that in different ways. And I think that's what this really is about. But John and his rhetoric, I think, have become an issue in and of itself."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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