It has become the American way. Things don’t work out for you, and a specific person or institution stands in your way, sue them. That’s the threat in the air from former CIA Director John Brennan after President Donald Trump revoked his security clearance following Brennan’s use of it to make a whole lot of money as an analyst for MSNBC, among other networks.
In its coverage of Brennan’s legal threat, AP notes that Trump has the authority to revoke security clearances. Currently, he is required to handle revocations according to an executive order signed by President Clinton in 1995, but Trump could also issue a new executive order if he wants to alter the revocation and appeal process. “Former Obama-era CIA Director Leon Panetta, who also served as defense secretary, said Sunday that Trump must abide by the executive order unless he decides to change or cancel it,” AP notes.
Oops. Live by the executive order, die by the executive order or watch it come back to bit your allies. This particular point of law is not in the hands of the legislature, but the executive branch.
I.e., President Trump can do whatever he wants when it comes to revoking security clearances.
Why so many security clearances from the previous administration – people who are clearly antagonistic toward the president and his goals for the nation – were left in place remains a mystery. There must be a good reason for it, though. President Trump is very calculating with his moves. He would not leave the safety of the nation to chance. However, the seventy-five people with clearances who signed a letter of support for Brennan last week might want to reconsider their stances. Trump may decide to revoke theirs as well.
And then where would all those people cashing in on those pieces of paper and clearances be.