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John Brennan on Pipe Bomb: Donald Trump Incites ‘Anger, If Not Violence’

House Intelligence Cmte Holds Hearing On Russian Interference In U.S. ElectionHouse Intelligence Cmte Holds Hearing On Russian Interference In U.S. Election
Former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. After being the intended recipient of a pipe bomb mailed to CNN, Brennan spoke out against President Trump.Drew Angerer—Getty Images

Former CIA director John Brennan, the target of a potential bomb sent to CNN on Oct. 24, pinned blame on President Donald Trump in an interview just hours after the incendiary device was discovered. “Unfortunately I think Donald Trump, too often, has helped to incite some of these feelings of anger, if not violence.” CNN’s headquarters was temporarily evacuated while the package was evaluated.

Brennan was one of several former and one present government officials who had suspicious packages mailed to them, which included former President Barack Obama, former presidential candidate and senator Hillary Clinton, and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Philanthropist and financier George Soros, a frequent target of Trump and right-wing attacks, also had a suspicious package delivered to his home on Oct. 23.

Brennan, the first intended victim to speak at length about the suspicious packages, appeared live on CNN in an interview on stage from Austin, Texas and criticized the president’s behavior, especially his attacks on the intelligence community and the media.

An interviewer asked him what he thought America’s most immediate threat was. Brennan answered, with a laugh, “Washington, D.C.?”

He also said that Trump’s statements have led to demoralization among FBI and CIA employees, and undercut America’s ability to influence policy abroad.

While Brennan acknowledge it was unusual for a former intelligence official to speak out on current politics, he said, “I am trying to figure out how to use my voice to object to what he is doing,” Brennan said.

On Aug. 15, 2018, Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance, access typically retained for many former high-level officials to be available to offer advice to their successors. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told the New York Times that Brennan’s conduct and behavior were “erratic,” leading to the revocation.