You’d think nobody had ever lost a security clearance before.
Former CIA Director John Brennan, who served under President Obama and is now the darling of the anti-Trump media as a contributor on MSNBC, can’t stop fuming publicly about what he perceives as punishment for disagreeing with President Trump: losing his top-secret clearance. He says Trump is trying to intimidate him and interfere with his freedom of speech, and he says it, and says it, and says it some more, whenever he wants, with no threat of repercussion, because nobody is interfering with his freedom of speech.
No one has the right to a security clearance. CIA directors have traditionally been allowed to keep theirs after they leave; it’s renewed every five years as a courtesy and also in case current staff wish to rely on their expertise in a given situation. There’s a condition, however: that former CIA directors “behave like current CIA employees.” Brennan has failed spectacularly to fulfill that requirement.
He’s also shown himself to be so heatedly partisan and deranged that he simply can’t be trusted on national security issues. And after he went so far as accusing the President of committing treason (a death penalty offense) simply for holding a press conference with Vladimir Putin, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which the current administration would wish to call upon him for anything, except maybe to do the opposite of what he says.
But if for some unfathomable reason they did need him, his security clearance could be reinstated. Peter Strzok’s was reinstated before his recent testimony before congressional oversight committees. (I assume it was yanked again right afterwards but don’t know for sure.) So, hypothetically, if the next administration were a bunch of “progressive” Democrats who were so “inclusive” they’d want to give a security clearance to a mouthy ex-spook who admitted during a polygraph when he joined the CIA in 1980 that he'd voted for the Communist Party in the ‘70s --- how did this man get to be in the CIA at all, let alone end up running it? --- they could always (shudder) give it back to him.
The anti-Trump media have gone wild, nonstop, over this. It was “authoritarianism in its purest form” (that from Ben Rhodes on MSNBC), “a brazen act of intimidation,” and "something you might see out of a dictatorship or authoritarian regime."
The intelligence community has been ridiculously free with security clearances, seemingly handing them out like candy. An estimated 4 million Americans have them, including an unbelievable 1 million with top-secret clearance. (I think about half of those people are now contributors on CNN and MSNBC. No wonder there are so many leaks.) And is it any wonder we’re uncovering so much inappropriate –- and illegal –- political activity going on in our intelligence community when John Brennan has shown himself to be “Exhibit A”? All of those involved need to lose their clearances.
Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino pointed out on “Tucker Carlson” Wednesday that Brennan was the one who, on August 25, 2016, briefed Sen. Harry Reid about elements in the Christopher Steele “dossier” that were then put in an open letter to James Comey at the FBI, providing a pretense for the FBI investigation into then-candidate Trump. He’s bound to have been up to his eyeballs in the attempt to take down Trump, and it’s easy to agree with Bongino that he’s “a disgrace and a stain on the United States whose legacy will only be as a cautionary tale told to future CIA leaders about how not to act.”
But back to my original point. This certainly isn’t the first time a security clearance has been revoked, and Rowan Scarborough writing in the WASHINGTON TIMES has come across an interesting and very timely one. This is the story of Adam Lovinger, a 12-year strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment who complained to his superiors in the fall of 2016 about “sweetheart” contracts given to Stefan Halper, whom we now know was an FBI informant who spied on the Trump campaign. (Lovinger blew the whistle on some other contracts, too, given to a close friend of Chelsea Clinton). On May 1, 2017, his security clearance was revoked and he was relegated to clerical duties.
According to Lovinger’s complaint, Halper had been contracted by James Baker, who ran the Office of Net Assessment, to conduct “foreign relations” when that task was supposed to be confined to government officials. Halper had also been awarded contracts totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Pentagon support agency called the Washington Headquarters Service and, according to Lovinger’s attorney, was being paid “astronomically more than others similarly situated.”
As the attorney tells it, the people around the office had no idea what he was doing. The work they knew about seemed to be subcontracted; he was just acting as the middle man.
Halper’s name should ring a bell; he’s the “confidential human source” (SPY) who approached George Papadopoulos and also contacted Carter Page. For daring to speak up about the odd arrangement his bosses had with this man and other examples of what he saw as cronyism, Lovinger lost his security clearance. Ironically, he seems like just the sort of person who should have one.