President Trump on Saturday took aim again at former CIA Director John Brennan, whose security clearance he yanked days ago, calling him a “political hack” who “cannot be trusted” with national secrets.
“Has anyone looked at the mistakes that John Brennan made while serving as CIA Director? He will go down as easily the WORST in history & since getting out, he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country!” he tweeted.
Brennan, who has been a frequent, very vocal critic of Trump, had his security clearance revoked on Wednesday, with the White House saying he had been “leveraging” his clearance to make “wild outbursts” against the administration.
For his part, Brennan declared the move to take away his clearance “part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.”
The move sparked a backlash in the intelligence community, with 12 former officials issuing a statement criticizing what they called an “ill-considered and unprecedented” decision by Trump.
“The president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” the statement said.
Among the signers were six former CIA directors -- including retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was a potential candidate for secretary of state in the early days of the Trump administration.
But Kris “Tanto” Paronto, who was part of the CIA team that fought back during the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, said Brennan got what he deserved.
“He is lucky the security clearance is all he is getting away with,” Paronto told Fox News in an interview on Friday. He had previously accused Brennan of putting his politics before those in the field.
“We come back from being on the ground to be treated as a second-class citizen. You come back and you’re called a liar,” Paronto said. “Brennan came in and there was no talk of ‘Hey, good job guys,’ not that you look for it, but instead, it was ‘Don’t say anything guys, we don’t want the truth to get out.’”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.