Admiral who blasted Trump steps down from Pentagon body

US Navy Admiral William McRaven. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: A celebrated retired admiral who berated President Donald Trump as “embarrassing” to the country has stepped down from his position on an influential Defence Department advisory body, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Admiral William McRaven, who supervised the 2014 Special Forces raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda kingpin Osama Bin Laden, resigned last month from the Defence Innovation Board, said Pentagon spokeswoman Lt Col Michelle Baldanza.

The resignation was effective on August 20, four days after McRaven published a scathing open letter to Trump in the Washington Post, blasting the president for punishing another critic, former CIA director John Brennan, by ordering Brennan’s security clearance revoked.

Calling Brennan “one of the finest public servants I have ever known,” McRaven wrote that “it would be an honour” to have his own security clearance revoked as well.

“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 said.

“If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken,” he said.

The letter resonated deeply, as few serving and former military officers had joined in the strong open criticism of Trump from the intelligence community and bureaucracy.

The Defence Innovation Board brings together top private sector technologists and scientists to advise the Pentagon and the Secretary of Defence.