Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has been highly critical of the Trump Administration's decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, even going so far as to call it a "First Amendment violation" intended to intimidate anyone who would dare speak out against President Trump.
Just five years ago, though, Clapper sought to revoke the security clearances of millions of former government employees.
In a directive obtained by POLITICO, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper questioned the booming rolls of security-clearance holders. At last count, more than 4.9 million people held clearances, of whom over 1.4 million were cleared for access at the “Top Secret” level.“
"I write to express my concern about threats to national security resulting from the increasing number of people with eligibility for access to classified national security information, particularly Top Secret (TS) and Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information (TS/SCI),” Clapper wrote in a three-page memo, dated Oct. 31 and cited at a Senate hearing Wednesday.
The move was part of a government-wide reassessment of security clearances in the wake of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's revelations about the Obama Administration's secret collection of bulk metadata from tens of millions of Americans as well as a former contractor killing 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.
As POLITCO reported at the time, "the intelligence community is coming to the conclusion that the sheer number of personnel with clearances is making the government and the country as a whole vulnerable to a slew of dangers."
Now, however, that same intelligence community believes that it is unconscionable that Brennan's security clearance would be revoked. This, naturally, begs the question: What has changed other than the man who sits in the Oval Office?