A STRONG AMERICA
Past CIA Operative Says Brennan, Clapper Should Keep Their ‘Yap Shut’
Michael Baker contends former intelligence leaders have an obligation to be circumspect when it comes to expressing political opinions
By Connor D. Wolf | Friday, August 3, 2018
Former CIA operative Michael Baker said Friday night that former senior U.S. intelligence officials such as John Brennan and James Clapper should keep their political opinions to themselves — instead of mounting a continuing barrage of criticism of President Donald Trump.
“I would like to see the president more circumspect, but that’s not going to happen,” Baker told host Laura Ingraham on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.” “I would also, very much, like to see John Brennan, James Clapper and others that come out of those senior positions just do what has traditionally been done, which is keep your yap shut and hold your own counsel.”
Brennan (pictured above left) was CIA director, and Clapper (pictured above right) was director of national intelligence under former President Barack Obama. The two men have questioned much about Trump, including his intelligence and his patriotism.
Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of Brennan, Clapper, and at least four other Obama-era intelligence and law enforcement officials. White House officials argue that those individuals have politicized their public service, contrary to the long-standing practice of all of their predecessors.
“John Brennan and the others have a right to say whatever they want to say,” Baker said. “They got that right, clearly they’re exercising it. They don’t have a right to a security clearance, and that is one action the president is currently considering, is yanking those security clearances.
“Those are given to them, or remain with them, as a courtesy. Not just John Brennan but anyone coming out of a senior position. And frankly, we should be overhauling the clearance process regardless.”
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 also lose their security clearances as a result. Hayden served under President George W. Bush, while the others named were Obama appointees.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders accused the former senior officials July 23 of making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia by Trump’s 2016 campaign aides. She argued the security clearances provide undeserved legitimacy to baseless, partisan charges.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) encouraged Trump to revoke the clearances, while suggesting it is inappropriate for former intelligence officials to use their possession of the special access to secret information to generate personal income.
Brennan is now a paid analyst for NBC/MSNBC, while Clapper is for CNN. Even without the clearance, both men would be valuable as intelligence analysts because of their experience, but having the special access significantly enhances their worth.
Trump has most recently been attacked for his summit meeting July 16 with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. Democrats were quick to denounce him for appearing to dismiss an intelligence community assessment on Russian election interference. Trump later clarified that he intended to say he agrees with the intelligence community.
Brennan has repeatedly blasted Trump since the summit, accusing him of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” part of the constitutional standard for impeachment, and also of allegedly committing treason in supporting Putin.