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White House Preparing More Security Clearance Cancellations - Reports

The White House has drafted documents revoking the security clearances of current and former US senior officials whom US President Donald Trump has accused of criticizing him and his policy, The Washington Post reported Friday.

A Senior White House official, familiar with the matter, told The Wahington Post that Trump wants to revoke "most, if not all" of them. Moreover, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House deputy chief of staff Bill Shine have reportedly discussed when would be the best time to revoke additional clearances. US media outlet reported that Sanders and Shine are discussing the matter in an attempt to have Trump's revocations serve as a distraction during 'unfavorable news cycles'.

Earlier this week, Trump revoked the security clearance of a former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of the president, which drew the ire of opponents and free speech advocates.

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The US-based media outlets suggested earlier that Trump Administration was also reviewing the security clearances of Obama-era US officials including former FBI Director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Meanwhile, 60 former CIA officials warned Trump in a statement on Friday that the US would be "weakened if there is a political limitus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views."

It came a day after a statement by 12 former CIA directors and their deputies slammed Donald Trump for his "ill-considered and unprecedented" action against Brennan, allegedly to "stifle free speech."

READ MORE: Ex-Secretary of State: Revoking Security Clearance 'Banana Republic' Behavior

According to CNN, the new open statement was signed by the former CIA officials who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations in positions such as analysts, senior analysts and officers.

"All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure… But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so", the statement was quoted by CNN.

CIA’s former personnel stressed, however, their signatures did not necessarily mean they agreed with opinions expressed by Brennan or the manner in which they were expressed.

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US Senator Dianne said Thursday that former US intelligence officials generally retain their security clearance because their "knowledge and understanding — and in many cases direct involvement — of complex global issues is second to none, and they offer invaluable service by collaborating with current national security leaders."

On Thursday, Brennan said in an opinion piece appearing in The New York Times, that Trump made a politically motivated decision in revoking his clearance, in order to silence others as he gets more desperate to protect himself amid ongoing Russiagate investigation.

The former CIA director said that the only remaining questions in the Russia investigation are whether the collusion "constituted criminally liable conspiracy," whether Trump obstructed justice to cover up collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of Trump's team tried to defraud the government through money laundering and "concealing the movement of money into their pockets."

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However, Trump argued his move, saying that the former intelligence official was using his status to make unfounded and outrageous allegations against the president and his administration, adding, "Any benefits that senior officials glean from consultations with Mr. Brennan are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior."

John Brennan led the Central Intelligence Agency from 2013 to 2017 during the presidency of Barack Obama.

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