Twelve former senior intelligence officials issued a statement late Thursday criticizing President Trump’s “ill-considered and unprecedented” decision to strip former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.

“The president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” the statement reads.

“As individuals who have cherished and helped preserve the right of Americans to free speech — even when that right has been used to criticize us — that signal is inappropriate and deeply regrettable.”

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