US President Donald Trump has revoked the security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, the White House said, denying the frequent critic of the president any access to sensitive information.

“Historically former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, reading a statement from Mr Trump.

“At this point in my administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with Mr Brennan are now outweighed by the risk posed by his erratic conduct and behaviour,” she quoted Mr Trump as saying.

Ms Sanders accused Mr Brennan of “lying” and “wild outbursts.”

She also claimed Mr Brennan had “leveraged his status” to make unfounded allegations.

Mr Brennan has since fired a broadside of his own, attacking moves to isolate Trump’s opponents as an attempt to suppress freedeom of speech.

“It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”

The former CIA director told MSNBC that revoking his security clearance was “an abuse of power”.

“I’m expressing my concern about what I think is a politically motivated action by Mr Trump,” he said. “I do believe that Mr Trump decided to take this action, as he’s done with others, to try and intimidate or suppress any criticism of him or his administration. Revoking my security clearances is his way of trying to get back at me.

“But I think I have tried to voice the concerns of millions of Americans about Mr Trump’s failures, in terms of fulfilling the responsibilities of that sacred and solemn office of the presidency.”

“I’ve seen this kind of behaviour and actions on the part of foreign tyrants and despots and autocrats during many many years during my CIA and National Security career. I never ever thought I’d see it here in the United States. So I do believe that all Americans really need to take stock of what is happening right now in our government and how abnormal, how irresponsible and how dangerous these actions are.”

Following the US President’s summit last month with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Mr Brennan, who headed the CIA under President Barack Obama, described Mr Trump’s behaviour as “nothing short of treasonous.”

Mr Trump said he was also considering revoking security clearances for James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, James Comey, whom Mr Trump fired from the post of FBI director last year, Michael Hayden, who had also served as director of national intelligence, and Sally Yates, the former acting Attorney-General who was sacked by Mr Trump shortly after he came to office.

Also on the list was Susan Rice, Mr Obama’s national security adviser.

Ms Sanders said the possibility of revoking those clearances was “currently under review”.