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Man Who Oversaw bin Laden Raid: Take My Clearance, Too

William McRaven joins others criticizing president's John Brennan decision
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2018 7:21 AM CDT
Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, the former head of US Special Operations Command who directed the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

(Newser) – President Trump's decision to strip former CIA chief—and frequent Trump critic—John Brennan of his security clearance apparently isn't sitting well in the intelligence community. A dozen former top senior officials, including former CIA chiefs, have signed a letter condemning the move, reports CBS News. "[W]e all agree that the president's action has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances—and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech," reads the letter. Signees include William Webster, George Tenet, and Gen. David Petraeus. A more critical reply to the president's move comes from retired Navy admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

In an open letter to Trump in the Washington Post, McRaven calls Brennan "a man of unparalleled integrity" whose loyalty to the US is clear. "Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency," writes McRaven. Trump, meanwhile, issued a series of tweets about the decision Thursday night, including: "@TuckerCarlson speaking of John Brennan: 'How did somebody so obviously limited intellectually get to be CIA Director in the first place?' Now that is a really good question!" An assessment at Axios suggests that Trump likes making these kinds of moves because he can do so under his own authority: It's "pure power and instant gratification," write Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan. (Brennan thinks the move is "hogwash.")

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