Over 175 ex-US spy officials join Brennan clearance outcry

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President Donald Trump cautioned former CIA Director John Brennan on Monday that going to court to get back his revoked security clearance will make it "very easy" to obtain "all of his records" for taxpayers to see his role in the Russian Federation collusion scandal.

Mr Trump told reporters on Friday that he "never respected" Mr Brennan and that he has "had a tremendous response" for revoking his security clearance.

In a second tweet on Monday, Trump said, "Everybody wants to keep their Security Clearance, it's worth great prestige and big dollars, even board seats, and that is why certain people are coming forward to protect Brennan".

'If my clearances and my reputation, as I'm being pulled through the mud now, if that's the price we're going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me it's a small price to pay so I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future and if it means going to court, I will do that, ' he said on NBC's 'Meet the Press'.

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He won't sue!' Trump tweeted.

Brennan's legal warning came as other officials joined the growing chorus of critics - now more than 75 intelligence officials - denouncing Trump's security clearance threats, saying they have a right to express their views on national security issues without fear of punishment.

The list includes Democrats and Republicans. He also questioned whether U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from his department's probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, would fire Ohr.

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The letter notes that the signatures do not mean these officials necessarily agree with Mr Brennan's views or actions, but they represent "our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views".

The president's action against Brennan has drawn a strong rebuke from former officials across the intelligence community, including a statement from 15 former high-ranking intelligence officials, another statement from over 60 former CIA officers, and yet another statement from a group of 175 former national security officials.

On Friday, 60 lower-ranking former Central Intelligence Agency officials showed their support in their own statement, according to a CBS News report.

A number of prominent individuals added their names to the new statement, released Monday, including top Bush and Obama administration officials such as former State Department and National Security Counsel lawyer John Bellinger, former Deputy Secretaries of State Anthony Blinken and William Burns, as well as former Undersecretaries of State Nicholas Burns, Wendy Sherman and Thomas Pickering.

The president's involvement makes the Brennan case exceptional.

Brennan is considering legal action against the administration after the president unilaterally revoked his security clearance on the grounds that he's a loose cannon who can not be trusted with national secrets.

If Brennan does go to court, the legal case could drag on for years, and the former spy chief could face an uphill battle.

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