Aug. 17 (UPI) -- In a published defense of former CIA chief John Brennan, a retired Navy admiral who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden has asked President Donald Trump to revoke his security clearance, too.
Adm. William McRaven made the request in a letter to Trump, published Thursday in The Washington Post, one day after the president canceled Brennan's security clearance.
Brennan has been outspoken in his opposition to the Trump administration's foreign policy, particularly the president's support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a summit in Finland last month, Trump drew criticism and outrage when he told reporters he accepted Putin's denial that Russia had intervened in the 2016 presidential election -- a stance in direct conflict with the U.S. intelligence community's position.
In his letter, McRaven praised Brennan as "one of the finest public servants I have ever known."
McRaven was critical of Trump, saying he's "embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation."
"If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken," he added. "The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be."
Speaking to reporters Friday, Trump fired back.
"It's a disgusting thing, frankly," he said. "I say it again: That whole [Russia] situation is a rigged witch hunt. It's a totally rigged deal. They should be looking at the other side. They should be looking at all the people that got fired by them.
"It's not us. It is a rigged witch hunt."
Sanders said Trump is also reviewing the clearances of James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr. Each had high-ranking positions in the CIA, the FBI or other intelligence-gathering agencies.
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.
McRaven said he 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."
"I don't know McRaven," Trump said. "I know that I've gotten tremendous response from having done that, because security clearances are very important to me. Very, very important. And I've had a tremendous response for having done that.
"Many people don't even know who [McRaven] is, and now he has a bigger voice. And that's okay with me, because I like taking on voices like that. I've never respected him."
McRaven was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, and oversaw the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
The list of those with revoked security clearances is reminiscent of the "enemies list" President Richard Nixon complied in 1973 -- which included a number of politicians, journalists and entertainers.