SOCOM Chief Who Oversaw Bin Laden Raid Rebukes Trump In Stunning Opinion Column

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U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven sits on stage during his retirement ceremony on Aug. 28, 2014.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Sean K. Harp/Flickr

The man who oversaw the raid that took out al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden delivered a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump amid the White House's decision to revoke former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance.


In an opinion column published by The Washington Post on Thursday, retired U.S. Navy Adm. William McRaven, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, described Brennan as "one of the finest public servants."

"He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don't know him."

On Wednesday, the White House announced it would revoke Brennan's security clearance, citing his "erratic conduct and behavior," and questioning his "objectivity and credibility."

"Mr. Brennan's lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the Nation's most closely held secrets and facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos," the White House's statement said.

Brennan, who had been critical of the Trump administration prior to the White House's decision, said that the move was "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," Brennan said on Twitter. "My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent."

McRaven appeared to concur with Brennan in his brief, but critical, column.

"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 wrote.

Related: Retired Adm McRaven Explains Why Officers Don’t Always Make The Best Politicians »

McRaven continued by describing the qualities of a good leader; characteristics he said he "hoped" that Trump would embody after becoming president.

"A good leader sets the example for others to follow," McRaven said. "A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself."

"Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities," McRaven said. "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 retired from the Navy in 2014 after 36 years of service as a Navy SEAL. He was hired as chancellor of the University of Texas' school system in 2015. In 2017, McRaven announced he would leave the school, citing health concerns.

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