‘You have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children’: Navy SEAL who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid rebukes Trump

  • Retired US Navy Adm. William McRaven, a former Navy SEAL who oversaw the raid that took out Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, delivered a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump on Thursday.
  • McRaven said he would “consider it an honor” if Trump revoked his security clearance, following the president’s decision to revoke that of former CIA Director John Brennan.

The man who oversaw the raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has delivered a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump amid the White House’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

In an op-ed article published by The Washington Post on Thursday, retired US Navy Adm. William McRaven, a former Navy SEAL who commanded the US 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,” McRaven said.

On Wednesday, the White House announced it would revoke Brennan’s security clearance, citing his “erratic conduct and behavior,” and questioned 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.

Former CIA Director John Brennan.

caption
Former CIA Director John Brennan.
source
Thomson Reuters

Brennan, who was deeply critical of the Trump administration before the White House’s decision, said on Twitter 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. “My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”

In his brief, but critical, article, McRaven appeared to concur.

“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.

McRaven continued by describing what he viewed as qualities of a good leader, characteristics he said he had hoped Trump would embody as 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.