Former intelligence chiefs have strongly criticized President Donald Trump in an open letter. The letter came in response to the White House’s decision to strip former CIA Director John Brennan of security clearance. Twelve former officials, including former directors and deputy directors of the CIA, accused Trump of acting politically and not in the nation’s security interests.
“Insinuations and allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Brennan while in office are baseless,” the letter says. “We all agree that the president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances.”
“We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case,” the former intel officials said. “Beyond that, this action is quite clearly a signal to other current and former officials.”
The letter carries the signature of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, as well as six former CIA directors and five deputy directors.
Separately, Admiral William McRaven has dared Donald Trump to remove his security clearance. McRaven, who is retired, presided over the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
McRaven accused Trump of ‘McCarthy-era tactics’, recalling Senator Joseph McCarthy and his crusade to root out communists from government positions and civic life. McCarthy frequently made false or trumped up allegations and lost influence when his behavior was exposed on TV.
““A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself,” McRaven said.
“Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. 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.”