Sen. Rand Paul weighs in on news that President Trump is considering removing the security clearances of former CIA director John Brennan, former DNI James Clapper, and former FBI director James Comey, as well as former Obama NSA Susan Rice, Ret. Gen. Michael Hayden, and FBI agent Andrew McCabe.
Paul has publicly pushed for the president to revoke Brennan's clearance and met with him on Monday to speak about the matter. At Monday's press briefing White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump is considering revoking not just Brennan's clearance but the others as well.
"I told the president in private what I’ve been saying in public, that I think there’s a great danger to having talking heads on TV, who are ex-CIA agents and still have classified clearance. There’s a real danger that they might inadvertently reveal classified information," Paul Monday said in an interview with FOX News' Martha MacCallum on The Story.
He warned of the exploits of John Brennan.
"John Brennan leaked information that almost cost the life of a double agent," Paul said. "This is four years ago now. He should’ve been fired for that, but he wasn’t fired by President Obama because I think he was partisan, but now he’s a talking head on the outside, saying that, basically, President Trump should be executed."
"That’s what we do for treason, and so, yes, I’m very concerned about him having privileges because of his past history, but I would make it more universal," he said. "I don’t think that ex-CIA agents of any stripe, who are now talking heads, should continue to get classified information. I think it’s wrong."
Paul said it should be a "universal policy" when you leave the intelligence community you hand in your clearance, especially those who go on television.
"I would not probably even name names," the Senator said. "I would probably have it as a universal policy, that when you leave – the only time I can think of a reason why you would want to keep this would be in a transition, when you’re still briefing people and you’re sitting down with the next administration, I would probably just go one step beyond and not let any retired officials go on television that still have classified – classified security clearance."
Paul said Brennan should not get "within 10,000 of government." He said the difference between the group being targeted and former retired statement is they would not be saying, "Ra, ra, ra, vote Democrat."
MACCALLUM: All right. You know, in terms of – did the president in terms of (ph) chicken and egg on this, was it your idea initially or did you talk to the president about it, and you know, did you say I’m going – you know, I’d like to bring this up, I’m going to start pursuing this?
PAUL: You know, I’ve been upset about John Brennan’s remarks for a longtime, but you know, I’ve also been upset for him (ph) from the very beginning. I filibustered, originally, as nomination, back in 2012, 2013, so I’ve never been a John Brennan fan.
You remember also, that John Brennan was involved with hacking into the democrats computers when they were doing the research into torture and waterboarding. They illegally – and he eventually apologized, not before sort of lying at first and saying that they didn’t do it, but John Brennan has a very, very sketchy history of doing things and abusing power.
So he needs to not be getting any information, because I think he has a history of doing things for partisan reasons and also things that the CIA’s not supposed to do, which is spy on senators and on their computers.
MACCALLUM: Well, what did the president say about Brennan?
PAUL: I think he’s not real happy with the – with Brennan and the others, for basically – I mean, does anybody remember, five or ten years ago, when people retired from the CIA, they might go on television, but they sort of act like statesmen.
They act like retired statesmen, and they would weigh-in on affairs from 60,000 feet. But you didn’t have them saying, “Ra, ra, ra, vote democrat.” You didn’t have them calling the president words like disgusting and disgraceful.
MACCALLUM: No, absolutely not.
PAUL: And so, this is so over the top that something’s got to be done, and these people do not need to be privy to secrets because they might be using these secrets for partisan purposes. They are nakedly partisan, and John Brennan should not get anywhere within 10,000 yards of government. He should have a restraining order.