Trump is hurting American safety and security with his decision to strip security clearances from his critics, according to former four-star Admiral and NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis.

Trump’s petulant decision to strip the security clearance from former CIA director John Brennan, and his reported plan to strip more clearances from his critics, could quickly backfire and cause damage to America’s safety, according to  retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis.

Stavridis served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and also served as commander of U.S. Southern and Eastern Command. He appeared on MSNBC to discuss Trump’s actions against Brennan as well as the administration’s announced intentions to strip other critics of their clearance.

Stavridis explained to host Alex Witt that “you diminish” American national security by “pulling these clearances.”

“The reason former officials have these clearances is so that they can turn around and give advise to their successors,” he said.

Referencing his time as Supreme Allied Commander, Stavridis said, “I could pick up the phone and call the previous Supreme Allied Commanders because they had security clearance and get their advice on pressing issues: Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, piracy, the politics of NATO.”

Trump’s administration has struggled to get along with NATO partners, despite close alliances forged with previous presidents of both parties.

Stavridis concluded his comment by noting that since he retains his own security clearance he has been able to offer advice to Trump’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Stavridis said that maintaining clearances for former officials is “an important component that is diminished if we take away security clearances from people like John Brennan, Mike Hayden, Jim Clapper, and so forth.”

Despite the risk to national security and the embarrassment the decision has brought to America, prominent Republicans offered their support of Trump.

Evidence already shows that Trump is deploying these announcements not out of concern for security, but to distract the public from embarrassing news stories, like the book from his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Stavridis makes clear that Trump’s actions hurt American security, pushing decision makers into situations where they won’t have all the information possible to make the right call.

The Americans who may suffer in the fallout from these decisions will have Trump to blame for prioritizing vindictiveness over safety and security.

Published with permission of The American Independent.