President revokes security clearance of vocal former CIA director

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On 15th August 2018, the White House revoked the security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director John Brennan and is threatening to do the same to other former intelligence officials who speak against the president. The president said Brennan had engaged in “frenzied commentary” and had sought to “sow division and chaos” in his administration, but offered no additional specifics. Brennan, who is considering filing a lawsuit against the president, said: “This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech and punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans”. 

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement saying: 

“The First Amendment does not permit the president to revoke security clearances to punish his critics. John Brennan’s record is full of grave missteps, and we have been unsparing in our criticism of his defense of the CIA torture program and his role in unlawful lethal strikes abroad. But Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s clearance, and his threats to revoke the clearances of other former officials for the sole reason that they have criticized his conduct and policies, amount to unconstitutional retaliation. They are also part of a broader pattern of seeking to silence or marginalize critics, which includes forcing staff to sign unconstitutional non-disclosure agreements.”