John Brennan, talking to broadcast journalist Rachel Maddow on anti-Trump news network MSNBC:
“And for Mr. Trump to so cavalierly so dismiss that, yes, sometimes my Irish comes out and in my tweets. And I did say that it rises to and exceeds the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and nothing short of treasonous, because he had the opportunity there to be able to say to the world that this is something that happened. And that’s why I said it was nothing short of treasonous. I didn’t mean that he committed treason. But it was a term that I used, nothing short of treasonous.”
To Maddow’s credit, she did point out that “nothing short of treasonous” means “committed treason,” but to her shame, she did not press Brennan to make sense out of this self-contradiction, perhaps because that is impossible, and also because she isn’t about to be properly tough on a Trump critic who was put on the air to bash the President. The whole interview shows Brennan to be an arrogant, presumptuous partisan warrior. I think my favorite quote is when he says
I gave him a year. I said, maybe he is going to adapt and change. But it seemed like day after day, week after week, month after month, things just got worse. He did not live up to I think what Americans expect of the president of the United States, to speak with great forcefulness but to do it with integrity and honesty. Mr. Trump, time after time, I think has really just disappointed millions of Americans, which I’m trying to give voice to.
And so, I know a lot of people think a former intelligence official shouldn’t be doing this. I don’t consider what I’m doing as political at all. I never registered as a Republican or a Democrat, you know, for my entire life. But I feel such a commitment to this country’s security and its reputation.
How generous of John Brennan, arbiter of the Presidency, to give our elected President a year. That’s better than the Congressional Black Caucus, I guess, which boycotted his inauguration and gave him no time at all. The Constitution, however, gives an elected President four years.
Brennan’s comments have shown that he should never have been trusted with security clearance in the first place.
Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur
25 thoughts on “OK, Is Being A Double-Talking Idiot Justification Losing Security Clearance?”
This is the guy who voted for a member of the Communist Party. Telling us how to deal with post Soviet Russia. Thanks John.
Maybe he’s finally ben hoist by his own petard. Maybe he’ll be eased off the air at MSNBC. He’s a lunatic.
Authentic Washingtonese Gibberish. That’s Brennanspeak. He had better hope HE never gets pursued to be put into a perjury trap!
My understanding is that in early 2017 both Brennan and Clapper teamed up with Rob Reiner to create a messaging campaign to impune Trump. Brennan’s close association with media outlets and a long history of orchestrating clandestine and misinformation campaigns would suggest that he is not working to advance the interests of the U.S. in as a patriot but to advance his interests.
Brennan pushed the dossier to Harry Reid who wrote a letter that instigated the entire investigation into Trump associates long before Trump was elected. Does this suggest anything corrupt? Maybe not by why would the CIA Director bring this Harry Reid’s attention and not Comey? This reeks of political activity by Brennan. So for that reason, I don’t buy his self righteous label as a patriot.
You can’t trust people that make their living by lying, using subterfuge, and creating propaganda to psychologically manipulate people. Even if they are telling the truth you cannot just believe them implicitly.
If your lies, subterfuge, deceit and double speak are intended to undermine a duly elected President or influence a Presidential election, you might want to watch your tongue about treason. If I were Brennan, I’d be lawyering-up for a far more serious and defensive reason.
I really have no problem with Brennan hating Trump, or working against him, or going on TV shows to denounce him even claiming the mantle of his former status to do so. This is called, “freedom of speech” in our vernacular. Undermining a duly elected president as a private individual is the very definition of free speech.
I do have problems with him using an active security clearance to obtain information that enhances his credibility, if that’s what happened, or to obtain classified information that enables him to attack Trump with insider information unavailable to the general public.
In such a case, he is abusing his status as a cleared individual to engage in partisan politics, and enhance his ability to do so. That is not freedom of speech, but abuse of position and abuse of process, and should (and probably is) illegal. And just because Trump abuses his position does not mean Brennan should be able to as well. Trump is accountable to voters. Brennan is accountable to nobody.
Brennan expressing his distaste for Trump, no problem. As private citizens it is our right. Working against a duly elected President while using your former capacity and apparent authority is questionable.
Brennan using his former status to accuse any current President of treason without real evidence and preying on people’s ignorance is undermining the Constitution. Problem.
Glenn. What about the idea of just keeping your mouth shut out of respect for the fact you are a former CIA director? His boss is no longer president. There’s a new CIA director. Why not just go fishing and keep your mouth shut out of respect for the electoral process? Isn’t the peaceful transition of power something worthy of respect? Why can’t these guys just go away? Collect their pensions. Write fiction. What is it about the word “former” that Clapper and Brennan don’t understand?
And sure, we all have the right as Americans to act like assholes, but is exercising that right admirable?
Well, I would agree that would be great. Unfortunately, those are not the times we live in. Nowadays, if you don’t speak out against the opposition, you are not doing your patriotic duty. Not to mention that speaking out as a paid analyst on the flagship “resistance” news channel is no doubt fairly lucrative for very little work.
Quietly fading into the background is what people should do, and mostly what they used to do. Alas, those times are “gone like a freight train.”
Is it? Except for the security clearance, I’m not really sure if it is.
I agree with you and Other Bill below, it would be preferable if he would just fade away and retire like so many others before him, but as I told OB, that’s not the times we live in. When news outlets are willing to pay you plenty of money to come on and opine, assuming you’re not abusing your position (like I believe Brennan was with an active clearance), we can regret it, but it’s pretty much de rigeur.
What I should have added is…
Working against a duly elected President using your former capacity “with no evidence he has done anything wrong other than not being of your political flavor”.
Disagreeing, even in light of your former capacity, is fine within the realm of common civil discourse. Calling the duly elected President treasonous with no evidence, but hoping people infer there is, is not acceptable. It is definitely reason to at least pull his clearance.
Treason is only during a time of war.
Brennan could be charged with sedition
One would think that having the CIA spy on its own oversight committee would have warranted the revocation of his security clearance a long time ago, if not a stint in Leavenworth.
Yes, John Brennan’s behaviour is wrong. He shouldn’t be criticising his political master. But nor should Donald Trump be criticising career public servants, like judges and prosecutors. Decent States require an ability for political leaders to work with career public servants ( the ‘experts’) and for there to be mutual respect. The UK television program ‘Yes Minister’ illuminated this wonderfully. One of the worrying trends in the ‘west’ over recent decades has been the generally weakening relationships between the ‘experts’ and the political leaders. The ‘Deep State’ jibe is intended to indicate some hidden conspiracy to usurp Government. But it encompasses what really makes the State work, be it the Generals, judges, teachers, doctors and sundry officials and their associated institutions. It may stick in your craw, but you can’t run a health service if you get the doctors offside, and you can’t run foreign relations and trade policy without the support of and respect for the career professionals.
See my reference above to the CIA spying on its own oversight committee. See also James Clapper lying to Congress, all with complete impunity. It’s not all that well-hidden any more, nor can we pretend these are merely the legitimate work product of dedicated professional public servants.
If expertise is being used to undermine the Constitution they no longer qualify as a public servants or are even to be considered public minded. In short, they are traitors. Pointing out these “public servants” to the public, is not dysfunctional behavior, though we may not enjoy the messenger or the style of the message.
I can’t imagine anyone familiar with “Yes, Minister” thinking that the program was about mutual respect between the bureaucracy and elected officials. It was, in fact, an early warning against the unaccountable bureaucracy, specifically including how it eventually gets rich by peddling its influence in the private sector.
Had he still been the CIA director, and called the president’s actions “nothing short of treasonous”, I (almost) think no one would have blinked were he fired and consequently stripped of his clearance. You literally cannot make such a vacuous accusation of treason against the President, and expect to remain employed or credentialed.
The doubletalk is particularly shameful, because he earlier doubled-down on the accusation, saying he “stood” by his words. Now he blames being “Irish”. Great.
Had Brennan called President Obama’s Iran deal “nothing short of treasonous”, Democrats would rightly be calling for the removal of his remaining credentials.
Don’t forget the floggings and re-education camp he’d have been subjected to, followed by a media-rich apology tour. As Jack would say, nah, there’s no bias. (Though Maddow is almost looking like she is waking up a bit.)
I hate these idiots running about redefining treason. It’s already been defined. Is it going to suffer the same fate as racism now at the hands of the Left?
Glenn Logan wrote, “I hate these idiots running about redefining treason. It’s already been defined. Is it going to suffer the same fate as racism now at the hands of the Left?”
The political left love to bastardize words to hype up their opinions, they’ve been doing it for quite, look at how they use the word hero now.
Truly. It is shameful.
Jack wrote, “The whole interview shows Brennan to be an arrogant, presumptuous partisan warrior.”
I just watched the interview twice to see if my opinion after my first viewing was reasonably justified.
First why do they continue to call him Director and allows it to continue, he’s was not a publicly elected official, he was appointed and once he was not in the position the title is gone? I’m sure it’s the press and him using the King’s Pass. This really bugs me.
I would describe the interview slightly different; “The whole interview shows Brennan to be arrogantly subversive and a seditious partisan warrior.” The anti-Trump resistance is going to be trotting this guy out ad nauseam.
In my humble opinion, President Trump was correct to strip Brennan of his security clearance.
Frankly, Trump would be well within his rights to demand all of the fifty former security officials who signed the letter against him during the election give written assurance that they will not try to actively undermine his administration, on pain of loss of their security clearances and possibly obstruction charges (although that’s a bit of a reach). They signed that letter to either bump up their bona fides for the lecture circuit (presuming that academia wouldn’t invite speakers associated with the GOP party unless they disassociated themselves from Trump) or in the justifiable, but ultimately mistaken belief that Hillary would win easily and they wanted to position themselves to be chosen for places in her administration so she could look bipartisan.
They bet their access and their influence on an election, and they lost. It was probably an unwise bet to make, for illusory rewards (academia would have looked toward Hillary’s appointees and Bill’s alumni, not former GOP officials, and Hillary had a complete slate of officials to appoint, heavy on women and empty of bipartisanship). Most of them realize this, and know they are better off laying low until a new opening presents itself, even with Trump, who, as a businessman, knows sometimes you have to make deals with those who’ve badmouthed you in the past.
For officials from the outgoing administration to trash the incoming administration and accuse the elected president of treason is beyond the pale, and not even an understandable “sour grapes” reaction to the effect of, “well, he won, but I wash my hands of government at this point and any problems going forward are on him and his people.” You didn’t hear prominent Republicans trashing Bill Clinton openly, even at the height of the Lewinsky hearings, nor calling Obama names they’d have been fully accurate in using. Frankly I’m kinda worried about allowing this party back into power, because I am having a hard time believing they won’t act like Eliot (I’m a fucking steamroller and I’ll roll right over you) Spitzer or The Kingfish Huey Long.
Well said as usual, Steve-O. The Spitzercrats are drooling for the chance to roll just like you infer.