Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Calls for Strong Bipartisan Response to Intelligence Restrictions

August 16, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON -- Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) released the following statement regarding the revocation of the security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John O. Brennan:

“John Brennan is an American patriot who helped lead the United States in getting to Osama bin Laden,” said Congressman Cohen. “He has been stalwart in combatting the former Russian KGB, as well as the FSB and GRU, the leading intelligence agencies in Russia’s efforts to attack our nation and the free world. In revoking the former CIA Director's security clearance, President Trump is following in the footsteps of Richard Nixon in many ways, including by keeping an 'enemies list,’ which is what this review of his critics’ security clearances amounts to. There was no consultation with National Intelligence Director Dan Coats about the revocation and suspensions, or with the CIA.

“The lifting of security clearances from former Intelligence, Justice and FBI officials is not only detrimental to our democracy, but also counterproductive to our intelligence capabilities. The cumulative knowledge and wisdom of these officials is invaluable, and it’s being eliminated from our intelligence resources at a time when our electoral system is under attack, and spies from Russia and from other countries are operating against the United States. We need all of the institutional memory we can bring to bear.

“This is very dangerous to our democracy and to a free society. Vindictive moves such as this represent an even further drift into authoritarianism by the Trump Administration, and an urgent need for bipartisan, pro-American, pro-democracy stands by my colleagues in Congress.

“I call on Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McCarthy, Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Whip Hoyer to take a strong, unified stand on behalf of our nation, and to propose a legislative remedy to limit the President’s unfettered power to use this process to weaken our intelligence resources and capabilities.”