Taking things personally and pitching a fit is never a good look.
During a taping of Anderson Cooper 360 on Friday, a discussion on security clearances took a bad turn when CNN counterterrorism analyst and former CIA official Phillip Mudd yelled and threw expletives at guest Paris Dennard due to differences in opinion.
Dennard sparked the heated exchange by claiming that security clearances are extremely lucrative through private contracting.
“A lot of these people that have these security clearances, and this is the secret in the swampy Washington, D.C., they have them and they keep them because it’s profitable for them after they leave government, because if you a security clearance, especially high level security clearance, your contracts and consulting gig pay you a lot more money because of the access that you have.
I hope the president continues to do this, and I hope he adds Omarosa to the list, because if she has a clearance, she too because of her actions should have it revoked.”
This issue is at the forefront of national debate due to President Trump revoking former CIA director John Brennan’s clearance due to alleged politicization of his position.
However, while Dennard was speaking, Mudd became visibly angry and began to ask pointed questions towards the show guest.
“Profitable, Paris?” said Mudd. “When I am required to sit on an advisory board, let me ask you one question, how much do you think I’m paid to do that at the request of the U.S. government? Give me one answer, and you’ve got 10 seconds? How much?”
After Dennard questioned if Mudd was being paid for private contracting, Mudd continued with his denials that he does no contracting with the U.S. government. However, Dennard clarified the question.
“Consultant and a contractor, the consulting firms that they form and you all get is because you get more money when having a consultant — for having the security clearance,” said Dennard. “Stop acting like that doesn’t happen.”
Mudd could not control his anger after the comment, beginning to use an agressive tone and talking over Dennard.
MUDD: That is incorrect. I have zero consulting relationships with the U.S. government. Zero.
DENNARD: I’m not talking — Phil, that’s a good talking point. I’m not talking about relationship with the government. I’m talking about in the private sector. When you a security clearance…
MUDD: I have zero relationships with the private sector that involve my security clearance.Zero. Zero. I get zero dollars from consulting companies that deal with the U.S. government. Are we clear?
DENNARD: Well, he will be clear in saying that everybody in Washington, D.C. knows — if you don’t want to be honest about it, that’s on you — but if you have a security clearance and you keep it, you get more money to have it.
MUDD: We’re done. We’re done. GET OUT!!!
DENNARD: It’s not your show. I’m staying right here. Don’t be so defensive about this.
MUDD: GET OUT!!!
DENNARD: Don’t be so defensive about this. Your voice is still here. You can still do whatever you want. But the politicalization of the intelligence community under this administration with the people coming on here every day tweeting and talking about this administration, you all have made it about politics, not the president.
Security clearances can last up to 15 years and can be an incentive to be privately contracted. However, the Trump administration is becoming more strict on which officials are allowed to continue to hold clearances after they leave their government job.