Panetta: Trump May Not Have Had the Authority to Revoke Brennan’s Security Clearance

Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” former CIA director Leon Panetta said that President Donald Trump might have overstepped his authority when he revoked former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.

Panetta said “The president obviously has power with regards to security clearances. But his power is also limited by an executive order that makes very clear that when it comes to the revocation of a security clearance that it has to be based on national security issues not the politics of somebody, not what that person has said, not how they dress, not how they look but based on national security issues. This president is now going after people, and the indication that I saw is that he’s going to provide these names to the press office to use this issue when it’s a bad news day so that it can cover that particular news story. I think that’s a real misuse of not only security clearances I think it’s a misuse of the office of the president.”

He continued, “There is an executive order that is in place, it was signed by Bill Clinton, it was updated by President Bush, it was followed by President Obama, and this president has to abide by that executive order unless he’s prepared to change it. That executive order lays out a process for revoking security clearances. This president is not above the law. He’s required to follow that executive order.”

He added, “I think there are questions raised as to whether or not this president has followed the executive order and whether or not he’s provided due process to those that are going to have their security clearances revoked. Yes, president of the United States has power. But that power is limited by the Constitution and by the checks and balances in our system. I think the president has to adhere to those kinds of requirements.”

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