So how do voters feel about President Trump revoking former CIA director and current MSNBC analyst John Brennan’s security clearance and threatening to do the same for other former big names in the intelligence community? A new Harvard CAPS/Harris survey reported by The Hill found that a strong majority agree with the president.
“The survey showed 59 percent of registered voters felt Brennan should have lost his security clearance, while 64 percent said Comey and others at the FBI who were fired or demoted over their actions should lose their clearance,” The Hill reports.
The issue, the poll suggests, comes down to what former national security officials do after leaving office. If they become consultants or news contributors, like Brennan, 60% said they should have their clearances stripped.
Former Bill Clinton pollster and adviser Mark Penn, who has frustrated his liberal colleagues by sounding the alarm over the Mueller investigation’s potential abuse of power, said that the results show that “there would definitely be support for a wholesale policy revoking their clearances.”
Trump’s crack down on security clearances began with Brennan, who has repeatedly accused the Trump and his team of various illegal actions. Brennan has portrayed Trump’s revocation of his clearance as a grave “abuse” of his executive authority which is part of “a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.” In an op-ed for The New York Times after his clearance was revoked, Brennan laid out his accusations of “collusion” against Trump.
“Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash,” Brennan wrote. “The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of ‘Trump Incorporated’ attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.”
In a scathing response, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) suggested Brennan’s NYT op-ed was a prime example of why he had his privileges revoked. “Director Brennan’s recent statements purport to know as fact that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power,” said Burr in a press statement. “If Director Brennan’s statement is based on intelligence he received while still leading the CIA, why didn’t he include it in the Intelligence Community Assessment released in 2017? If his statement is based on intelligence he has seen since leaving office, it constitutes an intelligence breach. If he has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the Special Counsel, not The New York Times.”
Survey details: The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey consisted of surveys of 1,330 registered voters conducted Aug. 22-23. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 2 percent other.