Today we saw yet another unprecedented violation of American norms, standards, regulations, etc. with the banana republic-style move by Trump to strip John Brennan – former CIA Director, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, long-time CIA analyst, the guy who was the “point person” on the operation to get Bin Laden, etc., etc. – of his security clearances.
As former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes put it earlier today, “John Brennan was the point person for the Obama White House on the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He knows a lot more about defending our nation than someone who uses security clearances to punish his political adversaries.” Most concerning, in my view, is that there was absolutely no justifiable reason or rationale provided by the Trump White House to do what it did today, indicating – as former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin described it – “an authoritarian attitude in [Trump’s] governing style.” And last but not least, there is no sign of Congressional Republicans putting patriotism above partisanship, even if it trashes the very things that make our country what it is.
With that in mind, check out Sen. Mark Warner addressing today’s disturbing developments. A few key points by Warner include:
- “What we’ve seen today is one more traditional norm being struck down by this president and this White House.”
- “It appears obvious to me that this is a White House that feels under siege…this is an attempt to distract the American public…”
- “This had an eerie memory of an enemy’s list…people being singled out…smacks of Nixonian-type practices of trying to silence anyone who’s willing to criticize this president. That puts us again in uncharted territory.”
- “I worry whether this precedent is going to somehow lead to the president trying to take away Mueller’s and his whole team’s security clearances.”
- “…what kind of signal it sends to other law enforcement intelligence community officials who have to continue to speak truth to power?”
- “…there would be nothing this White House would do that was surprising at this point, because this White House clearly is under siege and will stop at nothing to try to divert people’s attention.”
- “It’s disturbing when you have this kind of sloppiness coming out of that does not send a signal of strength for the American people or for that matter to our friends and foes around the world.”
UPDATE: Rep. Don Beyer weighs in
“This is a striking move towards authoritarianism. This is what dictators do. They shut down the press. They shut down dissent. They jail their opponents, or in this case, they steal their security clearance,” Rep Beyer says, and adds, the move is “mean, petty, and ironic” pic.twitter.com/BsXVCyPfSB
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) August 15, 2018