Former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance was revoked by President Trump Wednesday, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed to reporters that the president is considering revoking other security clearances of former senior Obama administration officials.
Trump insisted that "any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations" with Brennan "are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior".
She also claims he's "leveraged his status" to make unfounded allegations.
In a written statement, Trump cited "erratic conduct and behavior" by President Barack Obama's Central Intelligence Agency director as justification for revoking Brennan's security clearance.
Former intelligence officials typically retain their security clearances so they can continue to be consulted by subsequent administrations on matters of national security.
Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who had been appointed to top intelligence posts by both Republican and Democratic party presidents, calls Trump's action "an infringement of our right to speak and apparently the appropriateness of being criticism of this president in which one degree or another all of us have been".
These include former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, who was sacked a year ago, former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden and former attorney general Sally Yates.
In recent days, Brennan has issued regular defenses of former White House staff Omarosa, who secretly recorded Chief of Staff John Kelly in the Situation Room.
Biden's words were echoed by former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who said that clearance or not, Brennan "will now be just as vigorous & vigilant in defending American values".
True to form, Brennan himself responded to Trump in a verbose tweet, stating that "my principles are worth far more than clearances", and vowing to keep up the #resistance.
Asked if Mr. Trump is targeting his political critics by revoking their security clearances, Ms. Sanders replied in the negative. Given Trump's fondness for NDAs, I wonder if the next step will be to add nondisparagement clauses to all executive-branch security clearance applications. "The president of the United States for the first time has chose to revoke a security clearance on the basis of a critic exercising his first amendment rights to free speech".
So, unlike his predecessors, most of whom also left under a dark cloud, Brennan is bereft of anyone to protect him.