Retired four-star Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, spoke out against President Donald Trump and his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

In an open letter published by the Washington Post, McRaven called Brennan a man of an “unparalleled integrity” with an “honest” character. He also offered that he would be honored if Trump would revoke his security clearance as well to be in the list of those who have spoken up against 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.”



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“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech and 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 the military world. In his letter he wrote that Trump’s “McCarthy-era tactics” would not silence criticism.

“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 added.

Twelve former intelligence officials, including former CIA directors Michael Hayde, Leon Panetta, Porter Goss, William Webster and David Petraeus also responded on Thursday in a joint statement to “the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions by the White House regarding the removal of John Brennan’s security clearances.”

“We know John to be an enormously talented, capable, and patriotic individual who devoted his adult life to the service of this nation. Insinuations and allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Brennan while in office are baseless,” they said in the statement.

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