Paul Ryan: Donald Trump is 'trolling' people over security clearance threats

President Donald Trump shakes hands with James Comey director of the FBI during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House on Jan. 22 2017

President Trump Is Considering Revoking Security Clearances of His Critics

The President doesn't like the fact that people are politicising agencies and departments that are specifically meant to not be political and not meant to be monetised off of security clearances, the presidential spokesperson said.

She also named Michael Hayden, who was head of the National Security Agency and CIA director under President George W. Bush; James B. Comey, the former FBI director under Obama and Trump and a deputy attorney general in the Bush administration; and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a career federal official whom Trump fired.

Former top officials often maintain security clearances in case they need to be consulted on various matters pertaining to national security.

Ms Sanders accused the officials of having "politicised and in some cases monetised their public service and security clearances" as well as "making baseless accusations" against the president.

Brennan, who headed the CIA from March 2013 to January 2017, became a "senior national security and intelligence analyst" at NBC News in February.

USA media have described the White House move as a reprisal against the administration's outspoken critics.

Trump's decision could end up jeopardizing national security interests, said Evan Lesser, the president of ClearanceJobs, which helps the government find employees.

Mr Clapper told CNN the plan was "a very, very petty thing to do".

There is a formal process by which clearances can be revoked, Clapper said, but it's predicated on wrongdoing or other set procedures.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted earlier Monday that he was planning to raise the issue of revoking Brennan's clearance at a meeting with Trump.

After Mr Trump gave credence following his Helsinki summit to Putin's denials about Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election despite findings by the American intelligence community, Mr Brennan called the president's remarks "nothing short of treasonous". Brennan called Trump's performance "treasonous".

Gen. Hayden told CBS News' Olivia Gazis in an email that he doesn't "go back for classified briefings".

The threat to deny the officials access to classified information is the latest escalation in the president's war with members of the USA intelligence community.

Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for McCabe, said in a statement that his clearance "was deactivated when he was terminated, according to what we were told was Federal Bureau of Investigation policy".

Paul, who once had a frosty relationship with Trump, has emerged as one of his fiercest defenders on Russian Federation, calling those who questioned Trump's efforts to build a relationship with Putin "unhinged" and "crazy".

Security-clearance experts said while Trump probably does have the authority to unilaterally suspend or terminate a security clearance, no president has ever done so.

Security clearances are good for 5 years. "Won't have any effect on what I say or write". Comey has become a prominent critic, calling Trump "morally unfit to be president".

It isn't clear who among the people on the White House's list may still have an active security clearance; Comey might not still have his after he was sacked by Trump in 2017.

Rep. Eliot Engel of NY, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the idea "ridiculous".

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