Tuesday 18 September 2018

Former CIA director says President Trump using playbook favoured by 'tyrants, despots and dictators'

Former CIA director John Brennan. Photo: Reuters
Former CIA director John Brennan. Photo: Reuters
Former CIA director John Brennan (AP)
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David Fleming

Former CIA director John Brennan has hit back at US President Donald Trump for removing his security clearance, calling the president's actions politically motivated and part of an effort to silence critics.

Upon announcing the decision, which sees the president following through on his recent threat, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited Mr Brennan’s “erratic conduct and behaviour” and accused him of “lying” and “wild outbursts”.

In response the former CIA director, a 25-year veteran of the intelligence agency, tweeted that; “My principles are worth far more than clearances, I will not relent.” 

Speaking on RTE’s Drivetime programme today, Mr Brennan said he believed President Trump had revoked his security clearance in order to “send a message to others, both within the government and outside … that if you dare to speak out against Mr Trump there are ways that he can try to hit back at you.” 

Mr Brennan further said that he would not let up in his criticism of Mr Trump.

“My principles are very important to me having been raised in a good Irish family that really put honesty, integrity and proof above all else. So, when I see Mr Trump in the oval office not conducting himself the way I think a president should I am going to speak out.”

“This effort to try to suppress free speech and criticism is not something we should tolerate at all,” he added.  

Mr Brennan accused Donald Trump of withdrawing his clearance to distract from problems he is encountering and that he is following a playbook used by tyrants, despots and dictators. 

“I have witnessed this type of behaviour through the course of my intelligence career, in terms of what the foreign tyrants, and despots and dictators would do, and Mr Trump is following that play book quite closely,” he said. 

“I think Mr. Trump has really harmed national security by going down this road,” he added. 

Mr Brennan sought to reassure his “Irish brothers and sisters” that the US is a strong country, but at the moment President Trump is “not upholding the image and reputation of what it means to be an American president... we're gonna get there but we have some rough waters to navigate,” he said. 

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