Trump fires back at Navy admiral asking for revoked security clearance

Fuat Oktay

One day after President Donald Trump stripped former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan of his security clearance, the commander of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden said it would be an honor if the president would take away his own clearance next. Bruce Ohr may be his next target.

"As former senior intelligence officials, we feel compelled to respond in the wake of the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions by the White House regarding the removal of John Brennan's security clearances". At a summit in Finland last month, Trump drew criticism and outrage when he told reporters he accepted Putin's denial that Russian Federation had intervened in the 2016 presidential election - a stance in direct conflict with the US intelligence community's position.

"I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace, with his wife, Nellie", Trump told reporters outside the White House. "Very, very important. I've had a tremendous response for having done that".

Ohr works in the Justice Department's criminal division.

Trump has slammed Ohr as a source for Mueller in his probe into Russian election meddling. The opposition research firm hired former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign to compile the dossier. President Trump said today at the White House he's actually doing the opposite.

In a Washington Post OpEd on Thursday, William McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, spoke out on Brennan's behalf.

Eventually, Hemmer brought up the Trump-world talking point that Brennan was responsible for the secret investigations into the Trump campaign in 2016.

McRaven then challenged Trump to revoke his clearance also. There has been speculation, according to the Washington Examiner, that Trump could try removing Bob Mueller's security clearance, as a tactic to end the investigation. Brennan, a frequent Trump critic, called the president's actions an attempt to silence his free speech and tweeted, "My principles are worth far more than clearances".

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The White House said Wednesday that security clearances are under review for former U.S. National Intelligence director James Clapper, former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, former Obama administration National Security advisor Susan Rice, former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

"There's no silence. If anything, I'm giving them a bigger voice", Trump said.

The White House says it's also continuing to review the clearances of Hayden and other officials, many of whom have criticized the president.

Trump repeated his belief the probe is a "rigged witch hunt. a sham. and these people led it", referring to Brennan and nine other past and current government security officials whose clearances he is considering revoking.

"I don't know McRaven", Trump said.

Sen. Richard Burr said Thursday that Brennan is purporting to know - as fact - that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power.

"Let him write his report", Trump said.

Bill Hemmer asked Rove about this, and the former George W. Bush-adviser panned Trump for making a "sideshow" out of his effort to punish his critics, saying it "might have been the right action for the wrong reason".

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