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Bush and served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. These are not the kind of men who march on Washington. These are men who were marched upon. Robert M. GatesCreditPool photo by Brendan Smialowski The text was equally striking: “You don’t have to agree with what John Brennan says (and, again, not all of us do) to agree with his right to say it, subject to his obligation to protect classified information,” they wrote. “We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case.” The president sent “a signal to other former and current officials” to refrain from criticizing him, the letter continued, and “that signal is inappropriate and deeply regrettable.” “Decisions on security clearances should be based on national security concerns and not political views,” they conclude. In a separate six-paragraph open letter published by The Washington Post Thursday afternoon, a few hours before the national-security emeriti weighed in, retired Adm. William H. McRaven, head of the Special Operations Command during the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, dared the president to pull his security clearance as he had Mr. Brennan’s.
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