President Donald Trump wants to remove the security clearances of several former intelligence chiefs and others, press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Monday.
The officials Sanders said are being examined are former CIA director John Brennan; former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James B. Comey; former CIA director Michael V. Hayden; former national security adviser Susan E. Rice; former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.; and former Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director Andrew McCabe.
"Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russian Federation or being influenced by Russian Federation against the president is extremely inappropriate".
The US president is said to be "exploring the mechanisms" for stripping clearance from Mr Comey, who has been a vocal dissenter since being fired past year.
Paul confirmed in a tweet on Monday that he had met with Trump and had urged him to revoke these clearances.
"The president doesn't like the fact that people are politicizing agencies and departments", Sanders added later, despite the fact that Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the work of USA intelligence agencies and officials and denigrated them.
"You would think the White House would check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps.", she wrote. "The security clearance has nothing to do with how I or any others feel about the president and I don't get briefings, I don't have access to any classified information".
Many noted that President Barack Obama never revoked the security clearance of Michael Flynn, who became a prominent critic of Obama after he was forced out of the administration. "I haven't had occasion to use it". In a phone call to CNN made immediately after Sanders concluded the briefing, Clapper forcefully claimed that it was not he who is playing politics with the clearance, but rather, the White House.
Hayden responded Monday via Twitter, saying a revocation wouldn't "have any effect on what I say or write".
Among the five are ex-CIA director John Brennan - who in March said Mr Trump would one day become known as "a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history" - and one-time national intelligence director James Clapper.