Bozell & Graham Column: Media Wail for Brennan and Clapper

Republican Sen. Rand Paul sent the media into another meltdown on July 23 when he called  on President Trump to revoke the security clearance of Obama's CIA director, John Brennan. He charged Brennan "monetized" his privileges by becoming an on-air analyst for NBC and MSNBC. That doesn’t even count Brennan’s speaking fees.

It is a disgraceful spectacle, to watch Brennan spout inanities about treason that make a mockery of his former position.

When John Gizzi of Newsmax asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about Senator Paul’s request, she said yes, not just about Brennan, but other Obama appointees like James Clapper and Susan Rice. “The president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearance because they politicize — and in some cases monetize — their public service and security clearances.”

Not surprisingly, the Trump-hating networks wailed and screamed -- especially the ones paying Brennan (MSNBC) and Clapper (CNN). When these men come on television, they are treated as national treasures, described as nonpartisans, and asked softball questions. Clapper’s toughest interrogator – the only one reminding viewers he lied to Congress – was Meghan McCain on ABC’s The View. How is that not pertinent to his credibility?

Removing their clearances could be painted as petty, but it would also remove some insider glamor and any remaining shred of nonpartisanship -- if you're not listening to their wild talk on TV and Twitter about Trump's “treasonous” actions and other assorted evils. 

Wolf Blitzer even desperately claimed, "If you remove security clearances from a James Clapper, for example, that’s a potential national security threat.” Because no one upholds national security like....CNN? The network that falsely accused the U.S. military of gassing Laotians during the Vietnam War? The network that channeled Iraqi propaganda that America was bombing baby-milk factories? The network that couldn’t show enough Abu Ghraib photos worldwide, as they explained each image was a terrorist recruitment poster? 

On NBC, Hallie Jackson tried to claim people like Brennan and Clapper were somehow bipartisan, a most laughable proposition. "Most of the officials worked for both Democrats and Republicans and have been tough on President Trump publicly." If you call Trump treasonous, NBC calls that "tough." If you suggest these Obama aides are greedy partisans, NBC suggests that's "authoritarian."

What's comical is reporters like Jackson accusing Trump of "politicizing" this fracas....when these Obama intelligence officials were spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, unmasking their identities in a search for dirt to bury him. Top FBI officials were trading texts about how Trump had to be stopped as they probed the Russia ties of Trump aides. Even now, getting paid by highly ideological CNN and MSNBC to offer regular Trump-bashing analysis is politicizing intelligence. When in the last 50 years have we seen our intelligence officials so wildly exploit their power and moral authority (such as it is) to get a president removed from office? 

The networks have always politicized intelligence, going back to the Vietnam War days. The FBI and the CIA were under fervent leftist attack in the 1970s. They seemed to be filled with villains every time the Republicans were in office – with Nixon and Watergate, Reagan and Iran-Contra, with George W. Bush in the Iraq War. But when they’re scheming alongside Obama to help Hillary Clinton win – well, that’s somehow patriotic activity. 

The outraged journalists here are not seriously addressing their own self-interest here: how they may have used these Obama officials as anonymous sources to ruin Trump since 2015. We may never know how useful they were, but the media ardor on behalf of these “nonpartisans” should color everyone’s view of this kerfuffle.  


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James Clapper Wolf Blitzer John Brennan
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