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  #51  
Old 08-17-2018, 11:38 AM
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...aaannd I think we're done here.

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  #52  
Old 08-17-2018, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bobot View Post
And Trump is of course crediting this decision to the "Russia thing". Fucking imbicile.
Tough to work for this administration. You sit down and plan out your spin, go out there and deliver it with a straight face, and next thing you know Trump blurts out the unvarnished truth at just the wrong time.

As a wit on this MB once observed in another context, Trump's problem is that he's "a liar who doesn't realize that he's also an idiot".

Or as I've noted elsewhere, the notion that "the honesty of a child" reflects some tendency to honesty on the part of children is a misconception, which arose from the fact that children don't know when to lie and what to lie about. They are apt to blurt out the truth about things like the emperor's cloths not out of any sense of honesty, but simply because they don't appreciate the implications of what they're saying and that this is something to lie about, even when they'll readily lie when the implications are obvious even to them. Trump is childlike in this respect.
  #53  
Old 08-17-2018, 05:07 PM
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I am hoping against hope that a response like that from a man of that caliber will finally make Chump's base ... finally take notice. But it probably won't.
Not a chance.

Last edited by bobot; 08-17-2018 at 05:07 PM.
  #54  
Old 08-17-2018, 06:43 PM
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Cheeto is threatening to revoke clearances of pretty much everyone involved in the Russia investigation.
  #55  
Old 08-17-2018, 07:06 PM
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Cheeto is threatening to revoke clearances of pretty much everyone involved in the Russia investigation.
Which is flat-out obstruction of justice.

Cue Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to say 'that's concerning,'.....then nothing else about it, ever again.
  #56  
Old 08-17-2018, 08:41 PM
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It isn't legal. The government cannot take any action, even an otherwise legal action, if the purpose is to dissuade you (and it would work to dissuade a reasonable person) from exercising First Amendment rights.

Whether any of that can be proven, whether it is worth suing, what the remedy would be, etc., are all of course open questions. But the basic framework of First Amendment retaliation claims is fairly well-settled.
This is a pretty solid statement of the law.

But . . . something doesn't feel right to me.

Imagine Secretary of State Jones. He advocates for peace with Aburjastan. The President wants harsh sanctions, and Jones speaks out, publicly, against the President's plan.

There's zero doubt that Jones can be fired, because this is government-as-employer limiting Jones' First Amendment exercise.

Now, let's say that Jones is in fact fired. But he retains his clearance until the new SoS can be confirmed, so that he can brief his successor on several ongoing, non-Aburjastan, delicate issues.

But Jones continues to speak out, going on Sunday talk shows and saying, "In the month since I was fired, the classified material I have seen makes an even stronger case for no sanctions against Aburjastan."

My instinct says that President Smith can react by withdrawing Jones' clearance.

But that just may be intuition leading me astray.
  #57  
Old 08-17-2018, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
This is a pretty solid statement of the law.

But . . . something doesn't feel right to me.

Imagine Secretary of State Jones. He advocates for peace with Aburjastan. The President wants harsh sanctions, and Jones speaks out, publicly, against the President's plan.

There's zero doubt that Jones can be fired, because this is government-as-employer limiting Jones' First Amendment exercise.

Now, let's say that Jones is in fact fired. But he retains his clearance until the new SoS can be confirmed, so that he can brief his successor on several ongoing, non-Aburjastan, delicate issues.

But Jones continues to speak out, going on Sunday talk shows and saying, "In the month since I was fired, the classified material I have seen makes an even stronger case for no sanctions against Aburjastan."

My instinct says that President Smith can react by withdrawing Jones' clearance.

But that just may be intuition leading me astray.
That would be removing a clearance because he violated the terms of having a clearance - you can't reveal classified info, even obliquely like your example.

I'm not a lawyer, but I've had a clearance for 2 decades.
  #58  
Old 08-17-2018, 09:04 PM
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Trump Brushes Off Criticism from Adm. McRaven: 'Don't Know Him'
  #59  
Old 08-17-2018, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
My instinct says that President Smith can react by withdrawing Jones' clearance.

But that just may be intuition leading me astray.
But letís be clear: the question in either case isnít the legal power to do something, but the propriety of doing so.

The President could probably order a battalion of Black Hawk helicopters to hover over Omarosaís house at an altitude of 65 feet for the next three years. But should he?
  #60  
Old 08-17-2018, 09:42 PM
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That would be removing a clearance because he violated the terms of having a clearance - you can't reveal classified info, even obliquely like your example.

I'm not a lawyer, but I've had a clearance for 2 decades.
Then tweak my example until it's arguably legal:

TV HOST: Sir, the President says that only stronger sanctions will be effective, and he's characterized you for being naive about the chances for settlement.

JONES: All I can say is that the President and I have seen the same classified data, and while I can'r discuss any specifics, my conclusion are based on 36 years in the diplomatic corps and the President's are based on his current poll numbers.
  #61  
Old 08-17-2018, 09:44 PM
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But letís be clear: the question in either case isnít the legal power to do something, but the propriety of doing so.
Let's be clearer: one question raised in this thread *IS* the legal power:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
It isn't legal. The government cannot take any action, even an otherwise legal action, if the purpose is to dissuade you (and it would work to dissuade a reasonable person) from exercising First Amendment rights.
  #62  
Old 08-17-2018, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Let's be clearer: one question raised in this thread *IS* the legal power:
So youíre content to focus your commentary of this issue to nothing but the question of legality?

No thoughts whatsoever on any other aspect of the controversy?

Well, thank you for the contribution, limited though it may be.
  #63  
Old 08-18-2018, 02:33 AM
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  #64  
Old 08-18-2018, 10:28 AM
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So youíre content to focus your commentary of this issue to nothing but the question of legality?

No thoughts whatsoever on any other aspect of the controversy?
No. This is the kind of decision that if Obama had used against a Bush senior official would have produced essentially the exact same rhetoric from the exact same people, simply reversed. The bulk of people condemning Trump would be explaining how the Republicans simply want to see Obama fail, and that a security clearance cannot be used as a sword against the administration that grants it. And the same people now defending Trump would be apoplectic at the politicalization of clearances by Obama.

Either case can be passionately defended. The key is: do you consistently apply a single view, or does your answer change based on the occupant of the Oval Office?

So thatís why I ask about the law. The delivery that dispassionate result. The same action is either legal or illegal, regardless of which President takes it.
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:54 AM
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Seems like thereís only two issues you want to debate here: the issue of legal power and the issue of liberal hypocrisy.

Note that thereís one issue you donít want to discuss: whether this is good policy.
  #66  
Old 08-18-2018, 11:06 AM
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Either case can be passionately defended. The key is: do you consistently apply a single view, or does your answer change based on the occupant of the Oval Office?
That's almost certainly not the key, since it's a question that can't be tested without access to parallel universes--and even if you could test it, you'd learn something about a particular pontificator, not anything about the issue at hand. That is, at best, an interesting idle wonder, and I encourage you to open a thread in MPSIMS to discuss it further.

The legal question is far more interesting. Given your tweak, no, I don't see how a president would be justified in removing security clearance from an administration critic.
  #67  
Old 08-18-2018, 11:32 AM
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Seems like thereís only two issues you want to debate here: the issue of legal power and the issue of liberal hypocrisy.
Proverbs 28:1. Everything I said equally highlights conservative hypocrisy.

Quote:
Note that thereís one issue you donít want to discuss: whether this is good policy.
I think that it's good policy to permit the president to have final review power over clearances, but bad policy to exercise it in this way.
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  #68  
Old 08-18-2018, 12:38 PM
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No. This is the kind of decision that if Obama had used against a Bush senior official would have produced essentially the exact same rhetoric from the exact same people, simply reversed. The bulk of people condemning Trump would be explaining how the Republicans simply want to see Obama fail, and that a security clearance cannot be used as a sword against the administration that grants it. And the same people now defending Trump would be apoplectic at the politicalization of clearances by Obama.

Either case can be passionately defended. The key is: do you consistently apply a single view, or does your answer change based on the occupant of the Oval Office?

So thatís why I ask about the law. The delivery that dispassionate result. The same action is either legal or illegal, regardless of which President takes it.
First problem: this counterfactual didn't actually happen. Because this kind of thing doesn't tend to happen. Really, it's about as sensible as "If Obama had lied about the size of the crowds at his inauguration, liberals wouldn't call him on it" - part of the reason he didn't is because doing something like that is really fucking crazy.

But okay, let's grant the counterfactual. What if Obama decided to revoke someone from the Bush administration's national security clearance? Well, what are the circumstances? Did he demand it as part of a purge of people who had insulted him? If that question doesn't sound bizarre to you, it's because you have a drastically skewed impression of how normal this is (or a drastically skewed impression of how normal Obama was). It's simply not a thing you could realistically put him up to.

If you have to dig this hard for a "liberal hypocrisy" point, why bother? Seriously, what's the point?
  #69  
Old 08-18-2018, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
It isn't legal. The government cannot take any action, even an otherwise legal action, if the purpose is to dissuade you (and it would work to dissuade a reasonable person) from exercising First Amendment rights.

Whether any of that can be proven, whether it is worth suing, what the remedy would be, etc., are all of course open questions. But the basic framework of First Amendment retaliation claims is fairly well-settled.
I tend to think Bricker's correct here.

Legally, in this particular case, the president has the legal authority to Brennan's security clearance. It's clearly unethical and raises all sorts of questions, but I doubt it's illegal or a violation of his First Amendment rights. Brennan can still exercise free speech; he just doesn't have a security clearance anymore.
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:28 PM
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You are not discussing the law. You said it doesn't sound right. That's not the law. That's your opinion. If you want to discuss the law, then you would bring up statutes or case law to show that what they say is incorrect, as you have done every other time that a law is wrong.

Instead, you appeal to what we think is proper, which has nothing to do with the law.
  #71  
Old 08-18-2018, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
It isn't legal. The government cannot take any action, even an otherwise legal action, if the purpose is to dissuade you (and it would work to dissuade a reasonable person) from exercising First Amendment rights.

Whether any of that can be proven, whether it is worth suing, what the remedy would be, etc., are all of course open questions. But the basic framework of First Amendment retaliation claims is fairly well-settled.
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
This is a pretty solid statement of the law.

But . . . something doesn't feel right to me.

Imagine Secretary of State Jones. He advocates for peace with Aburjastan. The President wants harsh sanctions, and Jones speaks out, publicly, against the President's plan.

There's zero doubt that Jones can be fired, because this is government-as-employer limiting Jones' First Amendment exercise.

Now, let's say that Jones is in fact fired. But he retains his clearance until the new SoS can be confirmed, so that he can brief his successor on several ongoing, non-Aburjastan, delicate issues.

But Jones continues to speak out, going on Sunday talk shows and saying, "In the month since I was fired, the classified material I have seen makes an even stronger case for no sanctions against Aburjastan."

My instinct says that President Smith can react by withdrawing Jones' clearance.

But that just may be intuition leading me astray.
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Originally Posted by asahi View Post
I tend to think Bricker's correct here.

Legally, in this particular case, the president has the legal authority to Brennan's security clearance. It's clearly unethical and raises all sorts of questions, but I doubt it's illegal or a violation of his First Amendment rights. Brennan can still exercise free speech; he just doesn't have a security clearance anymore.
This is a tricky question, but once again Trump may have been his own worst enemy. As we saw in the "Muslim/Travel Ban" case, intent can be gleaned from even unofficial utterings, but in this case we have his own press release:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trump
Additionally, Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations – wild outbursts on the internet and television – about this Administration. Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the Nation’s most closely held secrets and facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos. More broadly, the issue of Mr. Brennan’s security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our Nation’s most sensitive secrets long after their time in Government has ended.
I'm not saying with certainty that this makes his action illegal, but I think it opens the possibility for a lawsuit. I doubt one will ensue (pun intended), but it would not surprise me at all if a legal challenge were to be successful, given how things worked out for the first incarnation of the Travel Ban case.

Last edited by John Mace; 08-18-2018 at 01:37 PM.
  #72  
Old 08-18-2018, 02:15 PM
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If we want to discuss the legality, maybe we should look at what former general counsel for CIA says:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey H. Smith
I believe the president has grossly abused his authority and violated Mr. Brennan’s First Amendment right to speak freely. The president’s actions are therefore unconstitutional and demand a response from Congress.
..
The courts, including the Supreme Court in a 1986 case, have recognized that the president, in the absence of congressional action, has broad authority to establish and oversee the security clearance system and that no one has a “right” to a security clearance. But those cases have been decided largely on procedural grounds, and none has addressed any situation remotely like Mr. Trump’s action against Mr. Brennan.
...
Free political speech is at the very apex of constitutional protections. Disagreement and dialogue are at the heart of our democracy. As Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in a 1988 opinion, the Supreme Court has “been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions.”

It is hard to conclude that Mr. Trump’s actions are anything other than a “sanction” to punish and intimidate Mr. Brennan and others who dare to speak out.
...
I do not know whether Mr. Brennan or others who may have their security clearance revoked by the president will choose to litigate. But if they do, it will be up to the courts to decide whether the First Amendment still matters in the age of Trump.
  #73  
Old 08-18-2018, 02:18 PM
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Some more information:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Blake
I was on an MSNBC panel Thursday night with Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, who suggested Trump’s revocation of security clearances could be construed as retaliation against witnesses. “It’s a federal crime -- ß1513 if anyone wants to look it up -- to retaliate against someone for providing truthful information to law enforcement,” he said. “So he’s getting closer and closer to really dangerous ground here.”

Here’s the text of Section 1513(e):

Quote:
Whoever knowingly, with the intent to retaliate, takes any action harmful to any person, including interference with the lawful employment or livelihood of any person, for providing to a law enforcement officer any truthful information relating to the commission or possible commission of any Federal offense, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
Honig explained to me Friday that he didn’t necessarily think Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s security clearance would be a violation, given Brennan isn’t a major figure on the probe’s key events. But if he presses on and does it with others, Honig argued, it could.
...
But the question, as with many aspects of the Mueller investigation, is whether the intent clearly stems from the investigation. Trump could certainly argue, in the case of Brennan, that the revocation has to do with the official’s public comments -- which was the initial explanation from the White House before Trump muddied it. He could also argue, in the case of Ohr and Comey, that it had to do with actual job performance, rather than their testimony.
  #74  
Old 08-18-2018, 02:40 PM
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I recall hearing an interview a few weeks ago when Trump first brought this up in which it was said that former officials who continue to hold security clearances have them not for their own benefit but because the administration wants the option of keeping them in the loop in case their experience and advice is valuable.

So by doing this, Trump hasnít punished Brennan but merely denied himself the benefits of Brennanís informed analysis.
All of the people whose clearance is in question are witnesses against donald. Punishment doesn't even need to be a motive, and he is being realistic in valuing his present "not being in jail" over whatever national benefit is coming to the US from Brennans insights. Honey Badger don't care.
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Old 08-18-2018, 02:51 PM
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With all due respect to the counsels provided as sources, I'm just not seeing it (though I'm open to having my mind changed).

I don't necessarily see the free speech argument in preserving John Brennan's security clearance. John Brennan still has free speech rights. The government didn't take that away from him. They took his security clearance away from him. They might have taken away his ability to find future employment, which may or may not be a separate legal matter that Brennan could fight, but his speech rights weren't restricted. But how is this any different from the president firing Steve Bannon for being quoted by various outlets for saying things the incensed the president? The government can't make laws or take action that jeopardize a person's fundamental ability to speak freely, but speech that is unpopular with a past or potentially future employer can have consequences, and the First Amendment doesn't protect individuals against those consequences.

With respect to retaliating against a potential witness in a crime, again, I'm just not seeing it. What crime did Trump commit that John Brennan would be a material witness to? He hasn't even been charged with anything, despite rumblings that he might be charged with obstruction of justice. But considering that Trump's own tweets potentially reveal criminal intent, potentially anyone who reads his tweets these days is a witness.

All of that aside, I completely agree that revoking security clearances was in retaliation for Brennan's frank assessment of the president. It's both unethical and it's one less voice on matters of national security that we need.

Last edited by asahi; 08-18-2018 at 02:51 PM.
  #76  
Old 08-18-2018, 04:14 PM
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With all due respect to the counsels provided as sources, I'm just not seeing it (though I'm open to having my mind changed).

I don't necessarily see the free speech argument in preserving John Brennan's security clearance. John Brennan still has free speech rights. The government didn't take that away from him. They took his security clearance away from him.
I was thinking about something along those lines. Keep in mind that Richard Parker noted what the law says (and it would seem Bricker agrees):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker
The government cannot take any action, even an otherwise legal action, if the purpose is to dissuade you (and it would work to dissuade a reasonable person) from exercising First Amendment rights.
So, would Brennan have to show that he changed his behavior after what Trump did, or would he simply have to show that Trump attempted to change his (Brennan's) behavior? If the former, then I agree the action is legal. But if the latter, then that possibly remains open. Brennan would have a tough time demonstrating that his speech actually was stifled, especially since he publicly stated:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brennan
This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & 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.
That sounds to me like he is saying that he is NOT intimidated.
  #77  
Old 08-18-2018, 04:31 PM
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I was thinking about something along those lines. Keep in mind that Richard Parker noted what the law says (and it would seem Bricker agrees):



So, would Brennan have to show that he changed his behavior after what Trump did, or would he simply have to show that Trump attempted to change his (Brennan's) behavior? If the former, then I agree the action is legal. But if the latter, then that possibly remains open. Brennan would have a tough time demonstrating that his speech actually was stifled, especially since he publicly stated:


That sounds to me like he is saying that he is NOT intimidated.
Whether or not he 'is' intimidated - the attempt to squelch him thru intimidation still occurred.

Similar to 'conspiracy to commit X' is just as much a crime as 'committing X' in many cases?
  #78  
Old 08-18-2018, 04:53 PM
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I was thinking about something along those lines. Keep in mind that Richard Parker noted what the law says (and it would seem Bricker agrees):



So, would Brennan have to show that he changed his behavior after what Trump did, or would he simply have to show that Trump attempted to change his (Brennan's) behavior? If the former, then I agree the action is legal. But if the latter, then that possibly remains open. Brennan would have a tough time demonstrating that his speech actually was stifled, especially since he publicly stated:


That sounds to me like he is saying that he is NOT intimidated.
But maybe it's not a violation of Brennan's First Amendment rights per se. Maybe the action of the president is to shut up anyone else that holds security clearances.

"You speak against me? This is what happens. Keep your mouth shut, you'll keep your clearance."

Is that the head of government attempting to infringe upon people's free speech? It seems like it to me.

Last edited by Happy Lendervedder; 08-18-2018 at 04:55 PM.
  #79  
Old 08-18-2018, 04:57 PM
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With all due respect to the counsels provided as sources, I'm just not seeing it (though I'm open to having my mind changed).

I don't necessarily see the free speech argument in preserving John Brennan's security clearance. John Brennan still has free speech rights. The government didn't take that away from him. They took his security clearance away from him. They might have taken away his ability to find future employment, which may or may not be a separate legal matter that Brennan could fight, but his speech rights weren't restricted. But how is this any different from the president firing Steve Bannon for being quoted by various outlets for saying things the incensed the president? The government can't make laws or take action that jeopardize a person's fundamental ability to speak freely, but speech that is unpopular with a past or potentially future employer can have consequences, and the First Amendment doesn't protect individuals against those consequences.

With respect to retaliating against a potential witness in a crime, again, I'm just not seeing it. What crime did Trump commit that John Brennan would be a material witness to? He hasn't even been charged with anything, despite rumblings that he might be charged with obstruction of justice. But considering that Trump's own tweets potentially reveal criminal intent, potentially anyone who reads his tweets these days is a witness.

All of that aside, I completely agree that revoking security clearances was in retaliation for Brennan's frank assessment of the president. It's both unethical and it's one less voice on matters of national security that we need.
Only trunp knows what crimes Brennan would be a witness to. But every one of these people are in the same category, of being first hand witnesses of the administration at the juncture under investigation. I don't know if you realize this but domald is becoming a "target" of the investigation if he is not already. This means he is treated differently, and you may not be aware of why. Projecting out from here is impossible. There are no tea leaves to look to to think domald is OK here in August 18.
  #80  
Old 08-18-2018, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
But maybe it's not a violation of Brennan's First Amendment rights per se. Maybe the action of the president is to shut up anyone else that holds security clearances.

"You speak against me? This is what happens. Keep your mouth shut, you'll keep your clearance."

Is that the head of government attempting to infringe upon people's free speech? It seems like it to me.
But that's not how the court system works. Someone, with standing, needs to bring a lawsuit against Trump. I don't think you or I could make a case that Trump's actions had some effect on us being able to exercise our 1st amendment rights.

Last edited by John Mace; 08-18-2018 at 05:25 PM.
  #81  
Old 08-18-2018, 05:34 PM
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But that's not how the court system works. Someone, with standing, needs to bring a lawsuit against Trump. I don't think you or I could make a case that Trump's actions had some effect on us being able to exercise our 1st amendment rights.
I don't have a security clearance, so no, Trump's actions have had no effect on me being able to exercise my 1st Amendment rights. It could be argued that he's trying to shut up those people that DO have security clearances-- in other words, big shots in the national security world.

IANAL, but it doesn't seem to me that Brennan was actually Trump's target to shut up. He's trying to stifle every other retired muckity-muck that he feels threatened by. I don't know how "standing" or the legal angle works on that. But IMO, Trump wasn't trying to shut up Brennan, so I don't see how his First Amendment rights could possibly have been violated (since, as people have pointed out, he's still talking).

Last edited by Happy Lendervedder; 08-18-2018 at 05:35 PM.
  #82  
Old 08-18-2018, 05:36 PM
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But maybe it's not a violation of Brennan's First Amendment rights per se. Maybe the action of the president is to shut up anyone else that holds security clearances.

"You speak against me? This is what happens. Keep your mouth shut, you'll keep your clearance."

Is that the head of government attempting to infringe upon people's free speech? It seems like it to me.
Brennan may still speak out, but he now speaks out to a potential audience that can choose to believe that his words are not credible because the government revoked his security clearance. We may reasonably expect that about a third of Americans will avail themselves of this choice.

This is the essence of the action taken by the President to dissuade Brennan from exercising his First Amendment rights. This is the essence of the effort to intimidate others from exercising their First Amendment rights: 'Speak out against the President, and the President will destroy your credibility.'
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Old 08-18-2018, 05:41 PM
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Brennan may still speak out, but he now speaks out to a potential audience that can choose to believe that his words are not credible because the government revoked his security clearance. We may reasonably expect that about a third of Americans will avail themselves of this choice.

This is the essence of the action taken by the President to dissuade Brennan from exercising his First Amendment rights. This is the essence of the effort to intimidate others from exercising their First Amendment rights: 'Speak out against the President, and the President will destroy your credibility.'
Credibility or not, he's still speaking out, and this hasn't stopped that.

It's all those other retirees with security clearances who now might be biting their tongues going forward...or else they may lose their clearance...

To me, that's the violation of someone's free speech here. Trump is using his power as the head of the government to target a specific group of people with negative actions if they now speak out against him. NOT Brennan. He was speaking freely before, and he's speaking freely now. Trump's action against him did nothing to stifle his speech.

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  #84  
Old 08-18-2018, 05:46 PM
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Credibility or not, he's still speaking out, and this hasn't stopped that.
It's all those other retirees with security clearances who now might be biting their tongues going forward...or else they may lose their clearance...

To me, that's the violation of someone's free speech here. Trump is using his power as the head of the government to target a specific group of people with negative actions if they now speak out against him. NOT Brennan. He was speaking freely before, and he's speaking freely now. Trump's action against him did nothing to stifle his speech.
Yes, and Trump is providing himself with brand-new characterizations of the many people on his little list--a list which not-coincidentally is filled with potential witnesses against him in the Russia investigation. Namely, those people are now characterized as 'people with such major integrity and honesty violations to their discredit that they had to have their security clearances revoked.'

You can see how useful that might be to Trump.
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Old 08-18-2018, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
I don't have a security clearance, so no, Trump's actions have had no effect on me being able to exercise my 1st Amendment rights. It could be argued that he's trying to shut up those people that DO have security clearances-- in other words, big shots in the national security world.

IANAL, but it doesn't seem to me that Brennan was actually Trump's target to shut up. He's trying to stifle every other retired muckity-muck that he feels threatened by. I don't know how "standing" or the legal angle works on that. But IMO, Trump wasn't trying to shut up Brennan, so I don't see how his First Amendment rights could possibly have been violated (since, as people have pointed out, he's still talking).
IANAL either, and I'll defer to our local legal experts, but I don't think anyone other than Brennan would have standing to sue against this action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder
Credibility or not, he's still speaking out, and this hasn't stopped that.

It's all those other retirees with security clearances who now might be biting their tongues going forward...or else they may lose their clearance...

To me, that's the violation of someone's free speech here.
So, when should we expect the first of these thousands of folks to sue?

Last edited by John Mace; 08-18-2018 at 05:54 PM.
  #86  
Old 08-18-2018, 06:06 PM
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So, when should we expect the first of these thousands of folks to sue?
Wtf kind of question is this?
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Old 08-18-2018, 06:07 PM
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No. This is the kind of decision that if Obama had used against a Bush senior official would have produced essentially the exact same rhetoric from the exact same people, simply reversed. The bulk of people condemning Trump would be explaining how the Republicans simply want to see Obama fail, and that a security clearance cannot be used as a sword against the administration that grants it. And the same people now defending Trump would be apoplectic at the politicalization of clearances by Obama.
(highlighting mine.)

You appear, here, to be asserting that John Brennan has used his security clearance "as a sword against the administration that grants it."

If that is what you are asserting, can you provide some examples of Brennan's public utterances that could not have been made, if he had not had a security clearance?

Note that not even Trump's ghostwriter has gone so far as to assert the existence of evidence that Brennan has actually made use of his security clearance in this way:

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...Additionally, Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations Ė wild outbursts on the internet and television Ė about this Administration. Mr. Brennanís lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary...
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/don...nnan-s-n901066

In the White House statement, Trump's ghostwriter offers two allegations about Brennan lying to Congress (in 2014, and about the use of the Steele dossier), but no allegations about Brennan making use of his security clearance as a means of facilitating attacks against the current Administration. The ghostwriter, instead, baldly asserts "lying" without offering any particulars about 'lies' that could be told only by someone with a security clearance.

The ghostwriter also complains that Brennan's allegations could not have been made publicly without the "status" of being someone with a security clearance. That seems shaky, given the number of commentators on the news shows and writers of editorials who do not possess a security clearance, yet manage to get booked and published anyway.

So, apparently in your zeal to 'prove' that Liberals are Hypocrites, you have gone further than did Trump's own ghostwriter, with your claim that Brennan has used his security clearance "as a sword."

Can you back up that claim with any evidence? What has Brennan said that he could not have said, had his security clearance already expired?
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Old 08-18-2018, 08:39 PM
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Credibility or not, he's still speaking out, and this hasn't stopped that.

It's all those other retirees with security clearances who now might be biting their tongues going forward...or else they may lose their clearance...

To me, that's the violation of someone's free speech here. Trump is using his power as the head of the government to target a specific group of people with negative actions if they now speak out against him. NOT Brennan. He was speaking freely before, and he's speaking freely now. Trump's action against him did nothing to stifle his speech.
It's an attempt to stifle his ability to give good advice. If he doesn't have the clearance he will be less helpful to the US. His speech will be limited in that he is out of the loop. Revocations have consequences.
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Old 08-18-2018, 08:41 PM
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IANAL either, and I'll defer to our local legal experts, but I don't think anyone other than Brennan would have standing to sue against this action.


So, when should we expect the first of these thousands of folks to sue?
I think there are significant numbers of people who are already suing darnoiled. Richard Painter is. Brennan has said he can. The people who have standing are going to be standing room only.
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:49 PM
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I think there are significant numbers of people who are already suing darnoiled. Richard Painter is. Brennan has said he can. The people who have standing are going to be standing room only.
Painter's lawsuit isn't (wasn't) about this issue, and it was already dismissed due to... lack of standing. He's appealing, so we'll see how that goes. But it's not about security clearances, it's about the emoluments clause. Brennan would have standing, which I already noted, so you're not disagreeing with me. If Trump targets someone else, specifically, they would obviously have standing as well. As for anyone else wrt to this particular issue, I guess we'll see in the coming weeks. If there is a non-Brennan lawsuit to be had, I'm sure someone will bite.
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:43 PM
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If Trump targets someone else, specifically, they would obviously have standing as well.
Trump has name checked nine other people.

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Trump says he is reviewing security clearances for nine other individuals: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr.
I think these nine people have a pretty strong case that the government took action to dissuade them from exercising their First Amendment rights.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:02 PM
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Credibility or not, he's still speaking out, and this hasn't stopped that.

It's all those other retirees with security clearances who now might be biting their tongues going forward...or else they may lose their clearance...

To me, that's the violation of someone's free speech here. Trump is using his power as the head of the government to target a specific group of people with negative actions if they now speak out against him. NOT Brennan. He was speaking freely before, and he's speaking freely now. Trump's action against him did nothing to stifle his speech.
I don't disagree with you, and I would say that it's not just retirees but all current members of the federal workforce.

Even so, it's difficult to make the argument that he has used government powers to curb their free speech rights. In the context of employment, free speech has different meanings, different interpretations.
  #93  
Old 08-18-2018, 11:23 PM
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Trump has name checked nine other people.



I think these nine people have a pretty strong case that the government took action to dissuade them from exercising their First Amendment rights.
Yep, he's got himself an Enemies List.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:52 PM
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Yep, he's got himself an Enemies List.
It might be an enemies list, but it's also a list of people with standing to sue.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:56 PM
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It might be an enemies list, but it's also a list of people with standing to sue.
And that's my thought too.
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:54 AM
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It might be an enemies list, but it's also a list of people with standing to sue.
I don't think so. Not until they actually have their clearance revoked. You can't sue someone for something they might do to you in the future.

What would the remedy be? Take my name off your list?

Last edited by John Mace; 08-19-2018 at 12:57 AM.
  #97  
Old 08-19-2018, 09:06 AM
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I don't think so. Not until they actually have their clearance revoked. You can't sue someone for something they might do to you in the future.
They wouldn't be suing the government for some hypothetical future action. The government already has taken action to dissuade them from exercising their First Amendment rights.

Also, of course you can sue someone to prevent them from performing a future act. I'm not a lawyer but I believe the correct term is 'preventive injunction'.
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Old 08-19-2018, 10:03 AM
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They wouldn't be suing the government for some hypothetical future action. The government already has taken action to dissuade them from exercising their First Amendment rights.
What is the remedy? You really think the SCOTUS is going to tell the president he can't make a list?

Quote:
Also, of course you can sue someone to prevent them from performing a future act. I'm not a lawyer but I believe the correct term is 'preventive injunction'.
Not the same thing. As I understand it, you can file a preventive injunction against an act that is actually planned to go into effect and for which there is already a lawsuit in progress, but not one that "might" go into effect. If Trump were to issue an order that Susan Rice be stripped of her security clearance on Jan 1, 2019, for example, she could try to get a preventive injunction if it will take longer than that time to adjudicate the removal of the clearance. She files a 1st amendment suit against the action, and then she files for a preventive injunction to preserve the status quo until the court case is resolved. But she couldn't do so simply because she was afraid that it might happen.



And the more I think about, the more I think even someone like Brennan isn't going to have a case. I'm having a hard time seeing how that would play out in the SCOTUS. That is, the SCOTUS telling the US President that he must give a security clearance to someone who isn't even a government employee anymore. I think the chances of us finding out are vanishingly small, so I think we'll never know for sure.

Last edited by John Mace; 08-19-2018 at 10:04 AM.
  #99  
Old 08-19-2018, 10:26 AM
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What is the remedy?
This is irrelevant to the question of who has standing to sue. That's the question you raised in this thread.
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Old 08-19-2018, 11:47 AM
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This is irrelevant to the question of who has standing to sue. That's the question you raised in this thread.
We're not limited to one question per thread.

But I think you're wrong about that question being irrelevant. In order to have standing, you need to establish redressablity. That is, you have to show that it is likely that a court decision will redress the alleged injury. If there is no remedy, or if the court is unlikely to compel a remedy, then there is no decision that will redress the injury (or it is unlikely the court will find one).

So I'll ask again, for the final time. Do you think the court will tell the president that he can't make a list like the one we are talking about? If not, then that is yet another reason why the folks on that list would not have standing.
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