In Spies Battle, Trump Holds the High Ground

In Spies Battle, Trump Holds the High Ground

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In backing John Brennan’s right to keep his top-secret security clearance, despite his having charged the president with treason, the U.S. intel community has chosen to fight on indefensible terrain.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seemed to recognize that Sunday when he conceded that ex-CIA Director Brennan had the subtlety of “a freight train” and his rhetoric had become “an issue in and of itself.”

After Donald Trump’s Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin, Brennan had called the president’s actions “nothing short of treasonous.”

The battle is now engaged. Trump cannot back down. He must defy and defeat the old bulls of the intel community. And he can.

For a security clearance is not a right. It is not an entitlement.

It is a privilege, an honor and a necessity for those serving in the security agencies of the U.S. government — while they serve.

Brennan is not being deprived of his First Amendment rights. He can still make any accusation and call the president any name he wishes.

But to argue that a charge of treason against a president is not a justification for pulling a clearance is a claim both arrogant and absurd.

Again, a security clearance is not a constitutional right.

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Said Defense Secretary James Mattis: “I have taken security clearances away from people in my previous time in uniform … a security clearance is something that is granted on an as-needed basis.”

Brennan is now threatening to sue the president. Bring it on, says national security adviser John Bolton.

With 4 million Americans holding top-secret clearances, and this city awash in leaks to the media from present and past intel and security officials, it is time to strip the swamp creatures of their special privileges.

The White House should press upon Congress a policy of automatic cancellation of security clearances, for intelligence and military officers, upon resignation, retirement or severance.

Clearances should be retained only for departing officers who can demonstrate that their “need to know” national secrets remains crucial to our security, not merely advantageous to their pursuit of lucrative jobs in the military-industrial complex.

Officials in the security realm who take clearances with them on leaving office are like House members who retain all the access, perks and privileges of Congress after they step down to earn seven-figure salaries lobbying their former congressional colleagues.

The White House statement of Sarah Huckabee Sanders on John Brennan’s loss of his clearances was spot on:

“Any access granted to our nation’s secrets should be in furtherance of national, not personal, interests.

“Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the Internet and television — about this administration. Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets, and facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos.”

Trump is said to be evaluating pulling the security clearances of Clapper, ex-FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

This is a good start. Some of these individuals have been fired. Some are under investigation. Some were involved in the FBI’s “get-Trump” cabal to prevent his election and then to abort his presidency.

Some have become talking heads on cable TV, exploiting the credibility of their former titles and offices to undermine an elected president.

Again, they have a First Amendment right to do this. But they should be stripped of their clearances to show the nation that the president is dealing with insiders who have joined the Resistance.

At bottom, the issue is: Who speaks for America?

Is it the mainstream media, the deep state, the permanent government, the city that gave Trump 4 percent of its votes? Or is it that vast slice of Middle America that sent Trump to drain the swamp?

Trump’s enemies, and they are legion, want to see Robert Mueller charge him with collusion with Russia and obstructing the investigation of that collusion. They want to see the Democratic Party take over the House in November, and the Senate, and move on to impeach and remove Trump from office. Then they want to put him where Paul Manafort sits today.

For Trump, a truce or a negotiated peace with these people is never going to happen. But this issue of security clearances is a battlefield where the president cannot lose, if he fights wisely.

Americans sense that these are privileges that should be extended to those who protect us, not perks for former officials to exploit and monetize while they attempt to bring down the commander in chief.

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A Never-Trump Press in Near Panic

A Never-Trump Press in Near Panic

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“All the News That’s Fit to Print” proclaims the masthead of The New York Times. “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” echoes The Washington Post.

“The people have a right to know,” the professors at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism hammered into us in 1962. “Trust the people,” we were admonished.

Explain then this hysteria, this panic in the press over the release of a four-page memo detailing one congressional committee’s rendering of how Trump-hate spawned an FBI investigation of Republican candidate and President Donald Trump.

What is the press corps afraid of? For it has not ceased keening and caterwauling that this memo must not see the light of day.

Do the media not trust the people? Can Americans not handle the truth?

Is this the same press corps that celebrates “The Post,” lionizing Kay Graham for publishing the Pentagon Papers, top-secret documents charging the “Best and the Brightest” of the JFK-LBJ era with lying us into Vietnam?

Why are the media demanding a “safe space” for us all, so we will not be harmed by reading or hearing what the memo says?

Security secrets will be compromised, we are warned.

Really? Would the House Intelligence Committee majority vote to expose secrets that merit protection? Would Speaker Paul Ryan and White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, who have read and approved the release of the memo, go along with that?

Is Gen. Kelly not a proven patriot, many times over?

The committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, who earlier warned of a threat to national security, now seems ready to settle for equal time. If the majority memo is released, says Schiff, the minority version of events should be released.

Schiff is right. It should be, along with the backup behind both.

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This week, however, FBI Director Chris Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein slipped into the White House to plead with Kelly to keep the Republican memo secret. Wednesday, both went public to warn the White House against doing what Trump said he was going to do.

This is defiant insubordination. And it is not unfair to ask if Rosenstein and Wray are more alarmed about some threat to the national security than they are about the exposure of misconduct in their own agencies.

The memo is to be released Friday. Leaks suggest what it contends:

That the Russiagate investigation of Trump was propelled by a “dossier” of lies and unproven allegations of squalid conduct in Moscow and Trumpian collusion with Russia.

Who prepared the dossier?

The leading dirt-diver hired by the Clinton campaign, former British spy Christopher Steele. In accumulating his Russian dirt, Steele was spoon-fed by old comrades in the Kremlin’s security apparatus.

Not only did the FBI use this dirt to launch a full investigation of Trump, the bureau apparently used it to convince a FISA court judge to give the FBI a warrant to surveil and wiretap the Trump campaign.

If true, the highest levels of the FBI colluded with a British spy digging dirt for Hillary to ruin the opposition candidate, and, having failed, to bring down an elected president.

Is this not something we have a right to know? Should it be covered up to protect those at the FBI who may have engaged in something like this?

“Now they are investigating the investigators!” comes the wail of the media. Well, yes, they are, and, from the evidence, about time.

In this divided capital, there are warring narratives.

The first is that Trump was compromised by the Russians and colluded with them to hack the DNC and Clinton campaign to destroy her candidacy. After 18 months, the FBI and Robert Mueller probes have failed to demonstrate this.

The second narrative is now ascendant. It is this:

In mid-2016, James Comey and an FBI cabal, including Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, lead investigator Peter Strzok and his FBI paramour Lisa Page, decided Clinton must not be indicted in the server scandal, as that would make Trump president.

So they colluded and put the fix in.

This alleged conspiracy is being investigated by the FBI inspector general. His findings may explain last week’s sudden resignation of McCabe and last summer’s ouster of Strzok from the Mueller probe.

If true, this conspiracy to give Hillary a pass on her “gross negligence” in handling secrets, and take down Trump based on dirt dug up by hirelings of the Clinton campaign would make the Watergate break-in appear by comparison to be a prank.

Here we may have hit the reason for the panic in the media.

Trump-haters in the press may be terrified that the memo may credibly demonstrate that the “Deplorables” were right, that the elite media have been had, that they were exploited and used by the “deep state,” that they let their detestation of Trump so blind them to reality that they made fools of themselves, and that they credited with high nobility a major conspiracy to overthrow an elected president of the United States.

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