NEW YORK — Amid reports that President Trump is exploring the possibility of removing security clearances from former top Obama administration officials, it may be instructive to take a closer look at former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s recently released book.
Inside the work, titled “Facts and Fears,” Clapper reveals that he feels it is his “duty” to speak out publicly against Trump by writing the book and doing television appearances, especially on CNN where he is a contributor. Clapper lists a litany of anti-Trump charges, and repeatedly makes clear that his public appearances are aimed at countering Trump’s presidency.
Explaining why he decided to make public pronouncements against Trump after leaving the Obama administration, Clapper writes that “speaking critically of our current president is counterinstinctive and difficult for me to do, but I feel it is my duty.”
He continued with an anti-Trump tirade, saying, “We have elected someone as president of the United States whose first instincts are to twist and distort truth to his advantage, to generate financial benefit to himself and his family, and, in so doing, to demean the values this country has traditionally stood for. He has set a new low bar for ethics and morality. He has caused damage to our societal and political fabric that will be difficult and will require time to repair.”
Clapper presents numerous other unsubstantiated charges against Trump that highlight his aim to use public appearances to oppose the president.
Clapper claims of Trump:
He had disparaged minority Americans and mocked those with disabilities. At the close of his first week in office, the Economist Intelligence Unit updated its Democracy Index to indicate that the United States no longer qualified as a full-fledged democracy. For the first time, because of an “erosion of public trust in political institutions,” our democratic status was listed as “flawed.” Since then, President Trump’s motto, “America First,” has meant tearing up agreements that the United States had made with other nations and not meeting obligations we’d incurred before he took office.
He marginalized NATO, pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, said he wouldn’t honor the North American Free Trade Agreement, abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and decertified the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I don’t see how North Korea or any other nation would trust the United States to live up to any new deal we tried to make. We have ceded leadership on global issues to China, Germany, and Russia.
We have elected someone as president of the United States whose first instincts are to twist and distort truth to his advantage, to generate financial benefit to himself and his family, and, in so doing, to demean the values this country has traditionally stood for. He has set a new low bar for ethics and morality. He has caused damage to our societal and political fabric that will be difficult and will require time to repair.
Clapper presents himself as being reluctant to enter the spotlight, pointing to a 2010 letter he wrote to President Obama when the White House was weighing whether to send Clapper’s nomination as Director of National Intelligence to the Senate. “I do not like publicity,” Clapper wrote in the letter. “I’ve spent the last week cringing every time I saw my name in the paper, or my face on the tube. I think it is part of the unwritten code of professional intelligence officers to stay out of the media.”
However, Clapper claims that after Trump won the 2016 election he felt he needed to publicly “contradict” Trump on the matter of Russia.
“After experiencing the election, the unprecedented Russian interference in our political process, and the behavior by and impact of the Trump administration, I changed my mind,” Clapper writes about the prospects of remaining silent. “I think the catalyst was the stark, visceral realization of seeing the fundamental pillars of our country being undermined both by the Russians and by the president.”
He also singles out disgraced former FBI Director James Comey and rabid anti-Trump activist John Brennan, former director of the CIA, as “advocates” who are also expected to oppose Trump publicly. Trump is reportedly considering revoking security clearances from those former officials, as well.
Clapper writes, “I certainly don’t make the pretentious claim that I am carrying the torch of truth, but in some ways, that seems to be what many people implicitly expect of me and others—such as John Brennan and Jim Comey—who are staunch advocates for our values.
Clapper claims the defining moment for him came when Trump fired Comey. That was when he realized “an occasional public appearance wasn’t going to cut it” and that he needed to speak out in a larger manner, he writes.
He claims his advocacy for a stronger stance against Russia is “also the reason I decided to appear regularly on CNN, so that I could continue to speak ‘truth to power.’”
Talking to CNN on Monday, Clapper called Trump’s reported consideration of revoking his security clearance as a “petty thing to do.”
“The security clearance has nothing to do with how I, or any of us, feel about the president,” Clapper claimed to CNN.
His words came just after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump was indeed exploring whether to revoke security clearances from Clapper, Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice and former FBI Director James Comey.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.