The White House may strip 9 former officials of their security clearances, and it's reminding people of Nixon's infamous 'Enemies List'

  • The White House announced the revocation of former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance last week, and said the clearances of nine other former officials are under consideration for revocation.
  • Some of the former officials are vocal critics of President Donald Trump, and their potential punishment sparked concern Trump was using his power to serve his own political interests.
  • The list of those at risk of losing clearance harkens back to former President Richard Nixon’s infamous “Opponents List,” written by an aide that identified the administration’s top “political enemies.”

President Donald Trump set off a firestorm last week when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance was being revoked, and listed nine other former intelligence and law-enforcement officials whose clearances are under consideration for revocation.

Some of the 10 former officials have been vocal critics of Trump, or involved in the investigation against him. The list follows Trump’s fierce rhetoric against the media and intelligence communities that have grown more intense during his time in office and harkens back to a now-infamous political hit list.

The “Opponents List” was revealed in the 1973 proceedings of the Senate Watergate Committee and included names of journalists, congressmen, businessmen, entertainers and Democratic Party donors as the top enemies of former President Richard Nixon.

Take a look at the list below:

George T. Bell, Nixon’s special assistant, wrote the list as a memo addressed to Nixon’s White House Counsel John Dean, who would later reveal its existence during the Watergate trial. Bell wrote the purpose of the list was planning “how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”

Source: The Atlantic

The list included the name, location, and a small description for each “enemy,” which were listed in “priority order.”

The list included free-wheeling descriptions of each subject, such as “first class S.O.B.” for enemy #12, lawyer Sidney Davidoff. Bell also recommended a “scandal” to take down enemy #8, foreign policy specialist Morton Halperin.

Sources: Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP,Open Society Foundations

Journalist Daniel Schorr was a covering the Watergate scandal with CBS, and only discovered his name was #17 on the list when he went to read it aloud on air. The list describes Schorr as “a real media enemy,” which echoes Trump’s oft-used description of the media as “the enemy of the people.”

Source: The New York Times, Business Insider

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