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Trump pulls ex-CIA chief’s security clearance

In this AFP file photo taken on May 23, 2017, former CIA Director John Brennan testifies during a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing about Russian actions during the 2016 election on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

US President Donald Trump has pulled the security clearance of one of his harshest critics, former CIA Director John Brennan.

The White House revoked Brennan’s security clearance on Wednesday, questioning his “insights.”

“Historically, former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors regarding matters about which they may have special insights and as a professional courtesy,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a Wednesday briefing. “Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan’s continued access to classified information.”

The move has widely been deemed as a political one, considering the pressure on the Trump administration from several fronts.

Later in the day, Brennan responded to the move, lambasting the Trump administration’s effort to “suppress freedom of speech.”

Sanders added that the former spy chief has shown "erratic conduct and behavior" and "has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility," therefore; the action was meant to protect "classified information."

"Mr. Brennan's lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation's most closely held secrets and facilities," she said.

Former CIA director John Brennan (2nd L) and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Other high-ranking targets include former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, ex-NSA Director Michael Hayden, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, ex-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

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