'You have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children': Navy SEAL who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid rebukes Trump in stunning opinion column

  • Retired US Navy admiral William McRaven, a former US 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.
  • McRaven said he would "consider it an honor" if Trump revoked his security clearance, following his decision to revoke former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance.

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 US Navy admiral William McRaven, a former US Navy SEAL and commander of 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."

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Navy Admiral William McRaven
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Navy Admiral William McRaven
UNITED STATES â MARCH 6: Navy Adm. William McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, testifies during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on 'The U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program' on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis (L) and Navy Admiral William McRaven (R) testify at the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington March 5, 2013 in regard to the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: (L-R) Lance Boxer, USO CEO, aviation survival technician second class Randy Haba, and admiral William McRaven attend 52nd USO Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner at Marriott Marquis Times Square on December 11, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for USO of Metropolitan New York)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: United States Navy Vice Admiral William McRaven testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill June 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. Credited for organizing and executing Operation Neptune's Spear, the special ops raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, McRaven has been nominated to command the United State Special Operations Command. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama greets Brigadier General Jeffrey Colt (L) as Admiral William McRaven looks on as he arrives to speak to troops at Fort Campbell in Kentucky May 6, 2011. Obama is scheduled to speak to several military units that have recently returned from duty in Afghanistan. Also during his visit, Obama privately thanked some members of the elite special forces team involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY SOCIETY)
WASHINGTON, DC - June 28: Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, nominated to be admiral and commander, U.S. Special Operations Command; during the Senate Armed Services hearing on his nomination. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) waves from the gallery of the US House of Representatives prior to US President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on January 24, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. From left are: Admiral William McRaven; Jackie Bray; Michelle Obama; US astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of shot US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; Dr. Jill Biden, wife of US Vice President Joe Biden; and Ashleigh Berg. AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis (R) and Navy Admiral William McRaven (L) confer before testifying at the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington March 5, 2013, with regards to the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS BUSINESS)
Admiral William McRaven, Commander of the US Special Operations Command, speaks the panel 'Counterterrorism in 2025: What kind of fighting force will be required' during the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on November 16, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen (R) waits to testify, as he sits next to Navy Vice Admiral William McRaven (C) and Army General James Thurman (L), before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to serve as the next commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, on Capitol Hill in Washington June 28, 2011. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
UNITED STATES ? MARCH 6: Navy Adm. William McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, testifies during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on 'The U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program' on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Admiral William McRaven (2nd L), commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), is seated in the First Lady's box with US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) as US President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress January 24, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Admiral William McRaven discusses special operations and the CIA during a daylong symposium 'The President's Daily Brief' that gave insight into the delivery of intelligence to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960's. The CIA today declassified 2,500 documents from the Kennedy and Johnson years. (Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)
U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis (front L) and Navy Admiral William McRaven (front R) await to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington March 5, 2013 in regard to the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS)
Admiral William McRaven, who took over as University of Texas System Chancellor after a 37-year military career, speaks with editor Evan Smith at a Texas Tribune forum. McRaven is best known as the operation commander in the 2011 U.S. raid that captured and killed Osama Bin Laden. (Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 14: Bono, Tina Brown and Admiral William McRaven attend the Newsweek & The Daily Beast 2012 Hero Summit at the United States Institute of Peace on November 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)
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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."

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Former CIA Director John Brennan through the years
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Former CIA Director John Brennan through the years
CIA Director John Brennan speaks at a forum about "CIA's strategy in the face of emerging challenges" at The Brookings Institution in Washington, U.S. July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 07: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) speaks as Acting CIA Director Michael Morell (R) and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan (2nd L) listen while making personnel announcements during an event in the East Room at the White House, on January 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama has nominated Hagel for the next Secretary of Defense and Brennan to become the new director of the CIA. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
James Clapper (R), Director of National Intelligence, testifies alongside CIA Director John Brennan (L), during a US House Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 10, 2015. The committee held the hearing to examine worldwide cyber threats. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan (L), U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to be CIA director, meets with U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) at Feinstein's office at Hart Senate Office Building January 31, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Brennan met with Feinstein who will hold a hearing to start the confirmation process of Brennan's nomination. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Anti-war protesters shout slogans as John Brennan (R), President Barack Obama's pick to lead the CIA, arrives to testify before a full committee hearing on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
John Brennan, US President Barack Obama's pick to lead the CIA, testifies before a full committee hearing on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 12: CIA Director John Brennan testifies during the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States' on Tuesday, March 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 08: General Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (L); John O. Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (C); and Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (R), take part in a question-and-answer forum during the International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) on August 8, 2013 in New York City. The ICCS, which is co-hosted by Fordham University and the FBI, is held every 18 months; more than 25 countries are represented at this year's conference. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan delivers remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations March 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Brennan denied accusations by U.S. senators who claim the CIA conducted unauthorized searches of computers used by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staff members in an effort to learn how the committee gained access to the agencyÃs own 2009 internal review of its detention and interrogation program, undermining Congressà oversight of the spy agency. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan speaks during a press conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, December 11, 2014. The head of the Central Intelligence Agency acknowledged Thursday some agency interrogators used 'abhorrent' unauthorized techniques in questioning terrorism suspects after the 9/11 attacks. CIA director John Brennan said there was no way to determine whether the methods used produced useful intelligence, but he strongly denied the CIA misled the public. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - SEPTEMBER 10: CIA Director John Brennan testifies during a House Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Cyber Security and the threat of Cyber Attacks in Washington, USA on September 10, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Former CIA director John Brennan testifies before the House Intelligence Committee to take questions on ?Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign? in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Former CIA director John Brennan testifies before the House Intelligence Committee to take questions on ?Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign? in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Former CIA director John Brennan is sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee to take questions on ?Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign? in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan participates in a session at the third annual Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, DC, U.S. on September 8, 2016. To match Special Report USA-CIA-BRENNAN/ REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo
CIA Director John Brennan arrives at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "diverse mission requirements in support of our National Security", in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
CIA Director John Brennan testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "diverse mission requirements in support of our National Security", in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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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.

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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