In an op-ed ofthe Washington Post
, McRaven, not only called Brennan “a man of unparalleled integrity,” but volunteered to have his own security clearance revoked in an act of solidarity. The Admiral explained:
“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.”
“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,” he added.
His comments come just one day after Trump announced his decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance, marking an unprecedented use of a president’s authority over the classification system to strike back at one of his prominent critics. Trump was responding to Brennan’s criticism of Trump. Brennan said Trump’s denials that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election are “hogwash” and accused the president of revoking his security clearance as part of a “desperate” attempt to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation.” Trump tried to justifyhis action by calling Brennan’s behavior “erratic”.Brennan, who was CIA director from 2013 to 2017 during the Obama administration, has stepped up his criticism of Trump in recent months.
Writing in an article for the New York Times , Brennan described the decision as “politically motivated” and “an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him”.
Brennan added that “it is critically important that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team of investigators be allowed to complete their work without interference – from Mr Trump or anyone else – so that all Americans can get the answers they so rightly deserve”.
“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,” Brennan tweeted after the announcement.
McRaven, is widely respected among the tens of thousands of active and retired special operators and his message will likely resonate within that community.
“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,” McRaven said of Trump.
“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,” he declared.
The word “smackdown” is fitting to describe Admiral McRaven’s rebuke of Trump.