NBC Reporter: Trump Will Cause ‘Financial’ Harm to Clapper, Brennan by Revoking Security Clearances

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Win McNamee, Drew Angerer/Getty; NBC News

NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian suggested Monday that President Donald Trump would hurt the livelihoods of Obama administration alumni by taking away the “valuable commodity” of their security clearances.

Dilanian (pictured, bottom center), who covers the intelligence community and national security issues, accused Trump of “seeking to levy a financial penalty” on former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — both of whom are paid contributors at cable news networks.

Brennan now works for Dilanian’s employer NBC News as an MSNBC analyst. Clapper has since joined CNN in a similar capacity.

He further insinuated that federal employees should consider resisting the order if the president gives it, lambasting Trump for what he called an “extraordinary threat of political retribution.”

Security clearances are a valuable commodity. By making this threat, @realDonaldTrump is seeking to levy a financial penalty on @JohnBrennan and Clapper. There are also public policy reasons that former intel leaders remain cleared–so they can help their successors.

— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) July 23, 2018

The national security officials who run this process will have to decide whether they can live with themselves if they go along with this extraordinary threat of political retribution. The president can probably pull the clearances of anybody he wants. https://t.co/ZIcvqLKDDb

— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) July 23, 2018

Trump made waves in Washington when the White House said he was considering revoking the security clearances for these now-pundits who make valuable contributions to public discourse like pure speculation that Trump is giving away top secret info to Vladimir Putin or alleging “treason” — a capital crime.

Journalists at the briefing audibly gasped at the announcement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who suggested that the Obama intel officials had “monetized their public service.”

“Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan’s security clearance, he’s also looking into the clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice, and McCabe,” Sanders said during Monday’s White House press briefing.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Monday that he would petition the president to revoke Brennan’s security clearance, also alleging that he was “monetizing” his access to privileged information.

This outburst is not the first time Dilanian’s affinity for rogue federal employees has overcome his pretense of objectivity. During the congressional hearing where disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok denied acting on any political bias against Trump, Dilanian praised him as “poised” — a “compelling witness.”

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

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