President Donald Trump brushed off criticism from retired Adm. William McRaven Friday on the lifting of security clearances of administration opponents.
"I don't know McRaven," Trump said of the former Navy SEAL who organized the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
A day earlier, McRaven, who retired in 2015, wrote a scathing open letter to Trump published by the Washington Post in which he ripped Trump for lifting the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.
McRaven called Brennan "one of the finest public servants I have ever known" and called on Trump to lift his own top secret clearance to show solidarity with Brennan.
"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 said.
While ignoring McRaven's criticism, Trump said he had been buoyed by support for his action against Brennan, a persistent critic who said Trump's behavior was "treasonous" in his Helsinki meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month.
"I know that I've gotten tremendous response from having done that because security clearances are very important to me -- very, very important," Trump said in a brief session with reporters on the White House lawn.
Trump denied attempting to muzzle Brennan. "There's no silencing. If anything, I'm giving him a bigger voice. Many people don't even know who he is, and now he's a bigger voice, and that's okay with me, because I like taking on voices like that. I've never respected him," Trump said.
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Brennan renewed his charges that Trump and his aides may have known about and cooperated with Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. "Mr. Trump's claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash," Brennan said.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.