Why do any former officials ever have a security clearance? And why should they mind so much when it's terminated?
The firestorm of liberal and media criticism of President Donald Trump for revoking the security clearance of former Director of National Intelligence James Brennan begs the question of why he kept the clearance in the first place after leaving his post.
The answer is not political or legal. It is financial. When men and women exit the revolving door of intelligence jobs, they enter a labor market that values them for their access to information. Having security clearance underpins many lucrative jobs in the private sector. Cutting off clearance curtails their ability to get high six-figure or low seven-figure jobs where they are hired for their access to secret information.
If anyone deserves to have his clearance pulled, it is Brennan. A staunch supporter of appeasement in the war on terror, he reoriented the intelligence community, turning it around to prosecute those who questioned terrorists rather than the combatants themselves. It was he who made the CIA and the other intelligence organs into functioning tools of the left. His appointees continue to leak classified information, doing their best to sabotage their nominal boss — the president.
Brennan voted communist in the 1976 presidential elections, saying that he did not find either Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford to his liking. He lived extensively in the Arab world and rumors have circulated that he converted to Islam. He and former Attorney General Eric Holder are jointly responsible for converting the FBI and the CIA into hotbeds of leftist ideology.
He used a clever ruse to do so. Upon being appointed, he moved to "reorganize" the CIA. Formerly, the agency had been stratified by function. Information gathering, counterintelligence, covert action and its other functions each had their own bureau with their separate chiefs. Brennan reorganized this plan into a vertical design where all those operatives who worked in a particular geographic region were put together in one bureau regardless of their function.
Some say he did this re-shuffling to make it easier to fire the incumbents holding staff jobs so he could hire, in their stead, true leftist believers. In any case, it is a matter of record that a great many of the top operatives quit rather than be reorganized. The employees in the high prestige subdivisions like covert action did not want to be lumped in with the desk-bound paper pushers and put in for their retirement pensions.
For Brennan to continue to get security clearance and have access to top-level information was always a mistake. His loyalties are very much subject to question. But that was President Obama's decision, and he had the right to make the appointment. But that mistake should not bind Trump, who was right to revoke his clearance.
Hopefully, there will be more revocations to follow.