James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, said that former CIA Director John Brennan has the subtlety of “a freight train” and that his rhetoric has become “an issue in and of itself.”
After Trump’s summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month, Brennan leveled some incendiary accusations against the White House. He called Trump’s actions “nothing short of treasonous.”
Jake Tapper, the host of CNN’s “State of the Union,” asked Clapper on Sunday morning whether he thinks Brennan’s “hyperbole” is cause for concern.
“Well, I think it is. I think John is subtle like a freight train, and he’s going to say what’s on his mind,” Clapper said.
Clapper added that the intelligence professionals speaking out share a genuine concern for U.S. institutions and values but may express themselves in different ways. He suggested that inflammatory language can distract from the important issues at hand.
“John and his rhetoric have become, I think, an issue in and of itself,” he said.
Brennan has been particularly outspoken in his criticisms of Trump, after the president cast doubt on the intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow launched a multifaceted campaign to disrupt American democracy and meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Trump revoked Brennan’s top-secret security clearance last week in reaction to what he called “unfounded and outrageous allegations.” Former top intelligence officials, including several who served under Republican administrations, condemned Trump’s actions. They agreed that security clearances should be based on concerns of national security — not political ideology.
In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning, Brennan doubled down on the accusation that Trump’s behavior has been treasonous.
“I called his behavior treasonous. I stand very much by that claim,” Brennan said. “These are abnormal times. … I have seen the signs blinking red on what Mr. Trump has done and is doing.”
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