The CIA has rejected an elite security clearance for one of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's top deputies, ending his ability to serve on the National Security Council amid growing tensions between the intelligence community and Flynn, and possibly adding to strife between the NSA director and other members of the Trump administration.
The deputy, Robin Townley, learned Friday the CIA rejected the clearance request, reports Politico, according to sources who requested anonymity while discussing the issue.
The sources further said Flynn and his allies believe the move came because the aide had voiced skepticism ― shared by the NSA director himself ― about techniques used by the intelligence community.
The CIA's move also came as reports surfaced that Flynn had spoken with the Russian ambassador to the United States before President Donald Trump's inauguration.
Townley, as a former Marine intelligence officer, has long held a top-secret security clearance, but one of the sources told Politico that CIA Director Mike Pompeo approved the rejection.
"They believe this is a hit job from inside the CIA on Flynn and the people close to him," one of the sources said. "Townley believes that the CIA doesn't run the world."
Neither the NSC or CIA responded for comment, nor did Townley or the White House.
Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, however, called the suggestions that the intelligence community denied the clearance "baloney" and accused Trump and Flynn of seeing "treachery everywhere they go."
"If a security clearance is denied, it's for a reason," Schiff said, as intelligence agencies know they will have to justify their decision to reject any security clearances.
However, a source close to Trump told Politico that in the White House, there are some who think Flynn is waging "jihad against the intelligence community" by trying to influence Trump against its agencies.
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