18.08.16 Who Keeps Our Nation’s Secrets?

August 16, 2018
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4+ million Americans have security clearances.
President Trump revoked 1.

Why some say stripping former CIA Dir. John Brennan of his clearance is an attack on free speech, while others say it had to be done.


Who Keeps Clearance?

  • Who: Former federal employees who had on the job security clearances.
  • Why: In case a need arises when he or she can be of use to the current administration.
  • How long: Clearance continues (with periodic reviews) as long as person avoids sharing classified info, getting into debt, & traveling to certain parts of the world, etc.

Bigger Picture:

  • Current *Security Clearance* system deemed “high risk” by gov’t watchdog.
  • Too many people have security clearances (est. 1.4M at “top secret” level) & continual reviews of their eligibility are inconsistent.
  • Evaluations take too long. More than 700,000 people waiting for security clearance, according to most recent estimates.

Why Revoke Brennan?

“Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations a wild outbursts on the Internet and television a about this administration."

President Trump

John Brennan’s Response:

“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.A It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”

Click: His Criticism

The topic of revoking security clearances came up several weeks ago when some, like Brennan criticized the President's meeting with Vladimir Putin. Is Brennan sowing "division & chaos" or exercising free speech? Does social media change the equation?

  • SOMETHING TO CONSIDER: Deputy Dir of the CIA, Mike Morrell, says the argument officials use classified information to criticize the administration doesn’t work because…”Senators and Congressman have security clearances. Senators and Congressman know classified information. And they talk to the media all the time too.” Listen to more here:
  • Who has security clearance? More than 4.3M people:
  • Security clearances: How do they work?
    QA A A Hey, Sarah.A Following up Jon”s question, how is this announcement by the President — how can Americans not interpret that as a getting back against his critics?A And isn”t it also an attempt to curtail their freedom of speech by penalizing them for being critical on television?
    __MS. SANDERS:A Not at all.A The President has a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information, and who has access to it.A And that”s what he”s doing is fulfilling that responsibility in this action.
  • https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/press-briefing-press-secretary-sarah-sanders-081518/
    Names still be reviewed: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.
  • WATCHDOG REPORT: Government-wide Personnel Security Clearance Process:

by Jenna Lee,