U S President, Donald Trump, has revoked the security clearance of ex-CIA chief, John Brennan, denying him any access to sensitive information.
White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, announced the decision by reading a statement from Mr. Trump.
The statement cited Mr. Brennan’s “erratic conduct and behavior.”
In response, Mr. Brennan tweeted that the move was part of President Trump’s broader effort to “suppress freedom of speech and punish critics.”
“It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out.
“My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”
Mr. Brennan earlier said Mr. Trump’s performance at a briefing after July’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki had been “nothing short of treasonous.”
And last year, Mr. Brennan said an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia during the US presidential elections in 2016 had been “well-founded”.
President Trump has repeatedly denied the claim, calling it “witch hunt.”
Later on Wednesday in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump said he would have revoked Mr. Brennan’s clearance last week but it was “too hectic.”
“As the head of the executive branch and commander-in-chief, I have a unique constitutional responsibility to protect the nation’s classified information, including by controlling access to it.
“I have decided to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“Historically, former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors, regarding matters about which they may have special insights and as a professional courtesy.
“Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan’s continued access to classified information.”
The statement added that Mr. Trump was also reviewing access to classified information for former FBI chief, James Comey, whom he fired last year; former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper; former National Security Agency director, Michael Hayden and former Attorney General Sally Yates, among others.
James Comey called the president “morally unfit” to lead.
His memoir, A Higher Loyalty, likened Mr. Trump to a mob boss.
In response to Mr. Brennan losing his clearance, Mr. Comey said in a statement: “Once again this president is sending a message that he will punish people who disagree with him and reward those who praise him.”
He added that “security clearances should not be used as pawns in a petty political game to distract voters from even bigger problems.”