The retired US Navy admiral who led the mission to kill Osama bin Laden is defending former CIA director John Brennan after President Donald Trump revoked his security clearance earlier this week.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post on Thursday, retired Adm. William McRaven asks Trump to revoke his own security clearance in solidarity with Brennan, a frequent critic of the president.
“Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him,” McRaven wrote.
“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.”
McRaven, a former Navy SEAL, led the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014 before leaving the military. He notably oversaw the 2011 mission that killed the former head of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan.
“Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs,” McRaven wrote, addressing Trump.
“A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself. Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities.”
“Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,” he continued. “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.”
McRaven has criticized Trump before, saying the president’s characterization of the press as “the enemy of the American people” is the “greatest threat to democracy” he’s ever seen.