Retired Adm. William McRaven, the man who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, issued a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump's decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan on Thursday, defending the former spy chief as "one of the finest public servants I have ever known".
Speaking to reporters days after he revoked the clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, Trump aired his long-held grievances about the probe into possible collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Moscow. "I suspect I'll be taking it away very quickly", Trump told journalists.
Mr Ohr's wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS during the campaign - something Mr Trump has tweeted about to highlight his assertions of political bias behind the Russian Federation investigation. But Trump said Wednesday he is reviewing the clearances of several other former top intelligence and law enforcement officials, including former FBI Director Comey and current senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Ohr was demoted upon the discovery of certain meetings with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, whose firm was behind dossier, and Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who assembled it.
Of those on the list, only Ohr is still employed in government service, but maintaining a security clearance is useful for finding documents if any of them are called to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller investigation.
"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", r McRaven wrote. The opposition research firm hired former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 USA presidential campaign to compile the dossier on Trump and his Russian Federation ties. He told the Journal he doesn't trust "many of those people on that list" and thinks they aren't "good people".
Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, announced Friday on Twitter that he planned to introduce an amendment "to block the president from punishing and intimidating his critics by arbitrarily revoking security clearances".
Brennan has repeatedly clashed with Trump on Twitter and on television, calling Trump's failure to denounce Russian interference in USA elections at a recent summit with Vladimir Putin "nothing short of treasonous".
"The fact that he's using a security clearance of a former Central Intelligence Agency director as a pawn in his public relations strategy I think is just so reflective of somebody who, quite frankly, I don't want to use this term maybe, but he's drunk on power".
"Director Brennan's recent statements purport to know as fact that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power", Burr said in a Thursday statement.
Brennan, a former official in the Obama administration and sharp critic of Trump, has said he will not be deterred by the removal of his security clearance.
Putin told reporters in Helsinki, while standing next to Trump, that he had wanted the former NY businessman to win the White House.
The former intelligence leaders added in their statement that "decisions on security clearances should be based on national security concerns and not political views".