John Brennan has published a memoir, much to President Trump’s distress. In the book the former CIA director reveals the president ordered the CIA not to share classified information with him while he was writing the book, a courtesy normally extended to former officials.
“Courtesy” and “Trump” are two words that co-exist uneasily in any sentence.
“It’s unprecedented, as far as I know,” said Mark Zaid, a lawyer who has represented government whistleblowers and former intelligence agency employees who have written books. “This is demonstrative, once again, of a vindictive, political president whose actions have nothing to do with actual national security decisions,” Zaid said.
But why should any U.S. official, out of power, have access to classified information while composing a booksaimed at swaying public opinion? Brennan, of course needed access to classified information to do his job as CIA director. But he does he have a right to the classified record when he’s joining the partisan political fray? I would say no.
Trump’s boorishness aside, Brennan is complaining about a loss of privilege that very few people in media enjoy. He seems to think a national security work is a kind of priesthood that deserves deference. It isn’t. Brennan is a private citizen now. His privilege has expired. He has much more important things to complain about.