The Real Reasons Trump Was Wrong to Revoke Brennan’s Clearance - Peter Feaver writes for Foreign Policy
Trump’s actions here are not some high-minded effort to protect national security by preventing careless people from having access to classified material. Nor are they merely an attempt to tidy up the messy files of too many people holding security clearances, as National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed.
Rather, as Trump has candidly admitted, this was an attempt to use the power of the presidency to punish someone he did not like on policy grounds. Worse, as multiple reports have suggested, it may also have been an attempt to create a flock of tethered goats to be ritually sacrificed as needed to distract from unwelcome press scrutiny.
Trump violated a long-standing norm that, to my knowledge, no other president ever transgressed—and he did so not accidentally but with premeditated malice. In a period when there is already too much politicization of national security, this was the president using the power of his office and his command on the public attention to make that problem so much worse.
And worse it will get, unless wiser heads in the administration can talk the president down.