Poll: Majority say Brennan, Comey should not have security clearances

Getty Images

The majority of U.S. voters believe that former CIA Director John Brennan and former FBI Director James Comey should have their security clearances revoked, according to the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill.

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.

Overall, 60 percent of registered voters said they believed that former national security officials who become consultants and TV news contributors should give up their national security clearances.

“An overwhelming majority of the public thinks that former officials should lose their security clearance, and believe that former officials like Brennan and Coney should no longer have any clearance,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll co-director Mark Penn.

“There would definitely be support for a wholesale policy revoking their clearances,” he added.

The results of the poll come after Brennan, who served as CIA director under President Obama, recently had his security clearance revoked by President Trump, a move that was widely viewed as an effort to retaliate against a vocal critic of the administration.

Trump accused Brennan of leveraging his status as a former government official to make “unfounded and outrageous” charges about his administration.

Brennan has been a strong critic of Trump’s presidency, regularly eviscerating him on Twitter.

Trump is also reviewing access to classified information for several former intelligence officials, including Comey. All of those under review have criticized Trump publicly or have come under attack from the White House.

Brennan had called the president’s move an “abuse of power.”

“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. 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,” he tweeted on Aug. 15.

Meanwhile, Comey and Trump have had an acrimonious relationship since he was fired by the president in May 2017, and he’s not believed to have an active security clearance at the moment.

Comey painted a scathing picture of the president in his book “A Higher Loyalty,” making disparaging comments about Trump’s hands and his “orange” skin, while questioning the president’s character. 

The former FBI director also blasted the president’s decision to revoke Brennan’s clearance, tweeting: “security clearances should not be used as pawns in a petty political game to distract voters from even bigger problems.”

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.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Donald Trump James Comey John Brennan
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video