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Re(4): Retired Adm. William McRaven asks Trump to revoke his security clearance

The below article appeared in today's NBC News:

WASHINGTON — First came the op-ed from retired Navy Admiral William McRaven — who oversaw the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden — criticizing President Trump’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.

"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,” he wrote in the Washington Post, adding: “If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be."

Then, just hours later, a group of 12 former intelligence leaders from over the last three decades — including William Webster, George Tenet, Leon Panetta, David Petraeus and James Clapper — also chided the president.

“Since leaving government service, John has chosen to speak out sharply regarding what he sees as threats to our national security. Some of the undersigned have done so as well. Others among us have elected to take a different course and be more circumspect in our public pronouncements,” they wrote. “Regardless, we all agree that the president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances – and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech.”

They added, “We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case. Beyond that, this action is quite clearly a signal to other former and current officials.”

NBC’s Peter Alexander confirms that former CIA Director (and Defense Secretary) Robert Gates also has added his name to the letter, making it 13 former intel leaders criticizing the president’s action.

This one-two punch is a substantial rebuke against Trump. And it raises the question: Where do the current intelligence officials — like CIA Director Gina Haspel and DNI Dan Coats — stand on this issue? Do they agree or disagree with the president’s action?

As our colleague Beth Fouhy notes, the McRaven-Petraeus-Gates-Panetta criticism stands in contrast to the reactions yesterday from a handful of GOP senators who commented on Brennan losing his security clearance. Per MSNBC’s Garrett Haake, Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, both said they were fine with Trump’s action.

[As best as I could determine by googling around, four of the six Intelligence leaders named are registered Republicans, and three have served under Republican Presidents].


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