Donald Trump has threatened to revoke another former intelligence officer’s security clearance, just days after removing John Brennan's ability to access sensitive government information.
The US president suggested stripping Philip Mudd of his clearance after watching the former senior CIA analyst debate with a Republican strategist on CNN.
Mr Mudd angrily refuted suggestions by Paris Dennard, a former White House staffer under George W Bush, that former intelligence officials were keen to keep their security clearance because it helped them make "more money" from consulting firms.
“Just watched former Intelligence Official Phillip Mudd become totally unglued and weird while debating wonderful [Paris Dennard] over Brennan’s Security Clearance,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Dennard destroyed him but Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance. Should be REVOKED?”
In the debate on Friday, which Mr Trump apparently only saw on Monday, Mr Mudd said he had “zero relationships” with the private sector involving his security clearance and that he gets “zero dollars” from consulting companies that deal with the US government.
He later told Mr Dennard to “get out” of the studio, adding: “Twenty-five years in the service and this is the s*** I get?”
Mr Trump's paranoia and sense of grievance against the US intelligence community escalated last week when he stripped Mr Brennan of his security clearance, citing the former CIA chief's public criticism and the Russia investigation as reasons for doing so.
The president also threatened to revoke clearances for a host of current and former security officials, all of whom Mr Trump considers critics or threats to his presidency.
The unprecedented move against Mr Brennan triggered outrage among politicians and security officials alike. Nearly 200 former US officials accused Mr Trump in a joint statement of attempting to “stifle” free speech.
State Department and Pentagon officials added their names to the statement, which includes 15 former directors and deputy directors of the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
On Monday, Mr Trump echoed Mr Dennard’s accusations against former intelligence officials when he tweeted: “Everybody wants to keep their Security Clearance, it’s worth great prestige and big dollars, even board seats, and that is why certain people are coming forward to protect Brennan.
“It certainly isn’t because of the good job he did! He is a political 'hack'."
Mr Brennan, who served under former presidents Barack Obama and Mr Bush, said he was considering legal action against the president, in a bid to “prevent these abuses in the future”.
Mr Trump hit back, taunting Mr Brennan as the “worst CIA director in the country’s history” who was involved in the “Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt”, a phrase the president uses to describe special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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