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Mattis Throws Cold Water Over Brennan’s Clearance Hysteria: Clearances Are Given on an ‘As-Needed Basis’

Secretary of Defense James Mattis gave his insights on President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.

Speaking with reporters while traveling back to the United States after visiting South America, Mattis explained how security clearances are given on an “as-needed basis” since the ability to access classified information is based on the level of clearance and the need to know.

“My question would be, is stripping a security clearance necessary for national security?” a reporter asked.

“All I can tell you is, I have taken security clearances away from people in my previous time in uniform, and a security clearance is something that is granted on an as-needed basis,” Mattis replied. “And you’ll have to ask the White House about this. I have no background on this situation, and it’s outside my responsibilities.”

When asked if he’s concerned about “former Obama administration officials being a threat to national security,” Mattis said that particular issue is not in his area of concern because he is focused on other issues.

“I do not have the background to comment on what’s going on. I’ve — I’m the secretary of defense. That gives me quite enough work, and I stay busy,” he said.

Since Brennan’s clearance was revoked, multiple former military and intelligence officials have come to his defense.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, who was the commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, asked Trump to revoke his clearance, too:

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.

Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.

A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

“Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities,” McRaven continued. “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”

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