The war of words between former US security officials and President Donald Trump showed no sign of abating Friday, as Trump promised he would move "very quickly" to revoke the clearance for a Justice Department official whose wife worked for the firm involved in producing a dossier on Trump's ties to Russian Federation.
His comments came two days after he yanked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, saying he had to do "something" about the "rigged" US federal probe of Russian election interference. But Trump said Wednesday he is reviewing the clearances of several other former top intelligence and law enforcement officials, including former FBI Director Comey and current senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. "And I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort", Mr. Trump said.
Hayden and James Clapper, another official on the statement and the former Director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama, are both included on a list of officials that the administration is considering stripping of security clearances.
"Security clearances are very important to me, very, very important. and I've had a tremendous response for having done that", Trump said Friday.
On Thursday, Trump got a stinging rebuke from a retired naval admiral William McRaven, who mockingly implored him to revoke his own security clearance as a show of solidarity with Brennan.
Early on Saturday, Mr. Trump fired back at Brennan in a tweet, saying "he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who can not be trusted with the secrets to our country!"
Trump has denied that he stripped Brennan's security clearance to silence a critic.
According to former acting Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Morell, Gates was out of cell range when the letter was originally released, but he's an "important voice".
"I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace with his wife, Nellie. I could go into conflict after conflict", Trump said.
Trump repeatedly has called the probe a "witch hunt" and sought to discredit those involved in it.
"We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case".
"Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation", he said. Ohr is still in the Justice Department, and was reportedly meeting with Christopher Steele, the British spy who complied the famous "dossier" on Trump's alleged ties to Russian Federation.
In the op-ed, McRaven, who retired from the Navy in 2014, described Brennan as "a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don't know him".
The mention of Ohr on Friday is notable because he now works at the Justice Department and has not publicly criticized Trump. And that's okay with me, because I like taking on voices like that.
Petraeus, one of the signers, was once considered by Trump as a candidate for secretary of state.