Former CIA chief Leon Panetta, a signatory to the letter signed by 15 intelligence leaders rebuking Trump’s abrupt and retaliatory decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, slammed the president for using the clearance process as a “political weapon”. He also intimated that the whole affair was nothing more than a deliberate, but dangerous, distraction.
A clearly angry Panetta noted that there were 4 million security clearances for military and intelligence personnel “serving our national security and trying to protect this country.”
“To go after people whose political views you may not like, whose speech you may not like, whose support for investigations you may not like, turns our national security interests into a political weapon,” Panetta said.
Panetta also clearly believes Trump’s decision to strip Brennan’s clearance was driven by rank political expedience. “I think this is kind of Trump’s approach of wag the dog, where he is using national security issues to divert attention. And I feel that that undermines not only our national security, I think it undermines the office of the presidency.”
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