President Trump taking away former officials’ security clearance is motivated by personal resentment and breaks with a precedent that benefited the country, argues Eliot A. Cohen in The Atlantic. People like John Brennan were not part of his administration but could share their experience with the government, having security clearance. This has long been the case, allowing a national security establishment to remain in place notwithstanding changes in the White House. It has helped the US maintain a long-term vision and strategy. The apolitical service that such officials offer baffles Trump, who continues to see things in black and white.
Former government officials do not need to hold onto their security clearance indefinitely, asserts Elliott Abrans in Politico. When administrations change, they usually stick around for a year, to ease the transition, while sharing their knowledge with incoming officials. President Trump is justified in revoking the clearance of people like John Brennan and James Clapper, who are also vocal critics of his. Additionally, this lessens the likelihood of vital information leaking to the public. The government should decide itself whether it still requires the services of such former officials. It doesn’t need to hold onto people that constantly attack it in the media.