Former CIA Head Says Trump Will Be Withheld Information If He Gets Nomination

By Victor Winston, updated on March 9, 2024

John Brennan, the former CIA Director, recently voiced his apprehensions on MSNBC about briefing former President Donald Trump on sensitive national security information, Fox News reported.

His concerns spring from Trump's past conduct with classified materials and the potential risk it poses to national security should he be briefed as the GOP presidential nominee.

Contemplating National Security in the Political Arena

Brennan's worries are not unfounded. They come in the wake of a longstanding tradition whereby major party presidential candidates are briefed on national security. This practice, which has been around for 72 years, is now under scrutiny due to Trump's history with classified information. In response to a Politico article, Brennan underscored the intelligence community's dilemma: how to maintain this tradition without compromising the integrity of the nation's secrets.

The tradition of briefing presidential candidates is crucial for a smooth transition and informed policy-making. However, Brennan pointed out that for Trump, these briefings might need to be curated, foregoing highly sensitive information to safeguard intelligence sources and methods. This careful approach reflects the intelligence community's efforts to balance transparency with national security.

Brennan highlighted the unprecedented nature of the situation, given Trump's indictment regarding his handling of classified documents. This indictment raises serious questions about the wisdom of providing him with access to sensitive intelligence.

Brennan expressed his belief that intelligence officials would navigate this delicate matter by offering Trump analytic overviews and briefings on global hot spots while protecting vital intelligence sources and methods.

The Delicate Balance of Intelligence Briefing

Brennan's comments reflect a broader concern within the intelligence community about the potential risks of Trump's access to classified information. His indictment adds a layer of complication to the process, emphasizing the need for a cautious approach.

John Brennan elaborated on this point, saying:

It’s somewhat surreal that an individual who is under indictment for mishandling classified information is going to be getting classified intelligence briefings. Now, I’m pretty certain that my former intelligence colleagues will provide briefings that are not going to do any type of damage to sources and methods. But they will provide analytic overviews and briefings about some of the world’s hot spots, letting Donald Trump know what the assessments are at this point.

Despite the challenges, Brennan believes that the intelligence community will convey necessary information to Trump without compromising sensitive intelligence. He also mentioned the type of analysis likely to be shared, emphasizing its focus on areas where sensitive sources and methods do not risk exposure.

Reflecting on Historical Misconduct in Handling Classified Information

Throughout and following his time in office, Trump has had a contentious relationship with the intelligence community. Trump has been a frequent target of criticism from John Brennan, who has openly accused him of endangering U.S. intelligence operations and possibly colluding with Russia. These prior actions and accusations add complexity to the considerations surrounding his access to intelligence briefings.

The issues surrounding Trump aren't limited to his management of sensitive information. Brennan, along with nearly 50 other former intelligence officials, suggested that the story regarding Hunter Biden's laptop could be a product of Russian disinformation, which emphasizes the political strains and difficulties of managing intelligence in a highly charged political atmosphere.

Faced with this unique situation, the U.S. intelligence community finds itself in the position of having to make decisions that have no precedent. Balancing the protection of national secrets with the customary practice of briefing presidential candidates is a delicate act that challenges the boundaries between openness and security. This predicament highlights the complex interplay between politics and intelligence, a relationship continuously adapting to emerging challenges.


In conclusion, John Brennan's insights illuminate the complexities of providing intelligence briefings to a former president with a contentious history regarding the handling of classified information. While the tradition of offering such briefings to major party presidential candidates stands, Trump's approach may necessitate careful recalibration to protect national security. Brennan's perspective sheds light on the delicate balance intelligence officials must strike between tradition and the imperative to safeguard the nation's secrets.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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