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Adam Schiff flips on security briefing access: good for Brennan, bad for Trump

House Intelligence Committee chairman wants to block Trump from getting intel briefings after office but fought to keep John Brennan's security clearance access.

Updated: January 19, 2021 - 9:33am

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is leading a charge to strip President Trump after he leaves office of the regular intelligence briefings and access to classified information afforded former presidents.

"There's no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future," Schiff told CBS' "Face the Nation" show over the weekend. "I don't think he can be trusted with it now and in the future, he certainly can't be trusted."

But it was just two years ago that the California Democrat decried Trump's threat to strip former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance and briefings, suggesting it was unfair and capricious. In the end, Trump didn't follow through on the threat.

"President Trump has set a dangerous precedent by revoking or threatening to revoke the security clearances of current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials to punish his critics," Schiff said back in summer 2018. "For those who depend on a security clearance for their livelihood, this effort to create and impose potentially career ending consequences on individuals who appear on the president's enemies list is unlawful and un-American."

Schiff joined several other Democrats in proposing a law to protect the clearances of former officials. The bill, however, never made it into law. 

"In July, Speaker [Paul] Ryan suggested the president was simply 'trolling' in making threats — that is clearly not the case," said Schiff. "The Congress must ensure that the process by which clearances are granted and revoked is governed by national security concerns, not politics or presidential temper tantrums."

A source close to Joe Biden's incoming administration told Just the News on Monday he expects the new president to let career intelligence professionals make decisions on stripping clearances or denying briefings, not politics.