Rand calls ex-intelligence officials ‘bad apples’

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is doubling down on calls to revoke the security clearances of former intelligence officials who have criticized President Donald Trump, calling the individuals “bad apples.”

“We’ve got some bad apples that need to be dismissed from the swamp of Washington,” Rand told a crowd of more than 600 young conservatives at Trump International Hotel in Washington on Tuesday night. “I am thinking, maybe, how about John Brennan, number one?”

Those attending the Turning Point USA dinner erupted in cheers, listening as Paul singled out Brennan, a former CIA director, as well as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and former FBI agent Peter Strzok for what he called “falsely accusing the president of treason and lying to members of Congress.”

After sustained criticism over Trump’s performance at his summit with President Vladimir Putin of Russia last week, the White House said on Monday that the president was looking into revoking the clearances of certain former officials. Brennan had said it was “nothing short of treasonous” when the president appeared to side with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Paul, a self-described “libertarian conservative” who has been vocal on the issue, met with Trump on Monday to discuss it and also tweeted: “Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump?”

Paul took it one step further on Tuesday night, contending that former officials could pose a “real danger” to Americans.

“This is happening to the most powerful man in the world, the president,” he said. “What do you think happens to ordinary people? What if it happens to one of you that your government turns on you and decides to use the apparatus that can listen to every phone call, record every text message, look into every email? You stop these individuals who have gone rogue.”

Critics of such a move say that removing security clearances of ex-intelligence officials would be unprecedented politicization.

Tuesday’s private dinner was part of Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit, where guests were invited to hear from Paul, Donald Trump Jr., Jeanine Pirro and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

The four-day event has brought in several conservative heavy hitters, including the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *