Former CIA Director John Brennan told MSNBC he’s not sure exactly what President Trump and the Republican Party have in store for the midterm elections, but he worried that a potential “October surprise” document dump -reported by Politico on Thursday- could do irreparable damage to the United States’ national security.
“I have no idea whether or not something like that will be planned or anticipated but I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be other efforts to undermine the Mueller investigation as we’ve seen Mr. Trump and others try to do,” Brennan said.
Brennan admitted he didn’t know what might be coming. “I’m all for transparency, as far as making sure we have good government and good government officials who are carrying out their responsibilities,” he said. “But I’m also very concerned, like Jim Comey is, about exposing intelligence sources and methods and doing anything that might compromise an ongoing criminal investigation.”
He added, “it seems as though the White house and the Republicans are being very selective in terms of what it is that they put out.”
Brennan also acknowledged that President Trump is empowered to declassify the documents. But, he pointed out, just because “the president has the authority” doesn’t make a given action “the right thing to do.”
“I really hope that the officials in positions of authority and with access to Mr. Trump are going to explain to him in a very calm and rational manner what the real adverse impact would be on intelligence capabilities or criminal investigations or whatever,” Brennan said. “There needs to be a basis to redact information and keep it from the public, particularly if a president of the United States directs them to do it.”
Brennan’s biggest worry was that declassification would “inhibit individuals from cooperating with law enforcement or intelligence in the future out of fear that their identity, their name, the information they share in a very confidential way” could be compromised.
“I think a lot of individuals who might want to work with the U.S. government are going to think twice and three times about it if a president of the United States can just capriciously, arbitrarily, unilaterally, recklessly release that information.”
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