When you leave a private sector job, all of your access to company servers, email, and other digital programs are nearly always immediately revoked. And if you have institutional knowledge that the company is afraid to lose, steps are taken to obtain that knowledge before the departure. Especially if the departure is amicable and expected.
This is just standard private sector protocol.
Given that, I don’t understand why President Trump revoking John Brennan’s security clearance is such a big deal. I realize that precedent is that past intelligence agency ranking members maintain their clearance so they can be consulted later, if need be. But is that necessary or just a nicety?
In this case, someone with security clearance, which means they have implied trust of the people, claimed that the President’s behavior at a Helsinki meeting with Vladmir Putin was “treasonous.” If you’re not familiar with charges of treason, their punishable by hanging.
So, if you’re in charge of security access, and someone who isn’t even an employee anymore is out there making claims of treason against you, wouldn’t you be revoking his clearance? I certainly would.
Coming to John Brennan’s aide were several other past intelligence personnel who also have clearance. Their argument was that revoking his clearance could affect their First Amendment rights and create a threat if they were to speak out.
I’m not sure how that is possible. There’s nothing stopping them from saying what they want. And like all protected speech, there may be consequences for their actions. That’s not a new idea. In fact, it’s built in to freedom of speech. You have the freedom to say what you want, but you don’t have freedom from consequences.
In this case, a former CIA Director accused the sitting President of treason, and many think it’s because of something he knows because of his clearance that others don’t. And, shocker, his clearance is revoked a few weeks later.
I’m still not seeing the surprise here.