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‘We should be very afraid’: Admiral who oversaw Bin Laden raid hits out at Trump over sacking of intelligence chief

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In a searing op-ed, the former head of US Special Operations Command, who supervised the 2011 Navy Seal raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, has slammed Donald Trump’s reckless attitude towards the intelligence community saying that Americans should be afraid of the president’s actions.

Retired navy admiral William McRaven, writing in The Washington Post about the dismissal of director of national intelligence Joe Maguire, decries the fact that Mr Maguire was apparently ousted simply for doing his job – the dissemination of intelligence to elected officials.

He writes: “As Americans, we should be frightened – deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security – then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”

Admiral McRaven opens with the famous quote from Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

He lists the good men and women that have come and gone in the Trump administration: Jim Mattis, John Kelly, HR McMaster, Sue Gordon, Dan Coats, and now Joe Maguire, and later mournfully says that “in this administration, good men and women don’t last long”.

Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, arrives for a briefing on Iran with members of the House of Representatives: Getty
Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, arrives for a briefing on Iran with members of the House of Representatives: Getty

Mr Maguire’s extensive career, including 36 years as a Navy Seal, is described in detail by Admiral McRaven who paints a picture of a patriot and a man of integrity.

When caught up in the Ukraine whistleblower case, Mr Maguire told the White House he would testify if asked and would tell the truth – and he did, says Admiral McRaven.

“He earned the respect of the entire intelligence community. They knew a good man was at the helm. A man they could count on, a man who would back them, a man whose integrity was more important than his future employment.”

Former CIA director John Brennan has also sounded the alarm about the Trump administration’s alleged interference in the operations of US national security. Mr Brennan referred to the dismissal of Mr Maguire as “a virtual decapitation of the intelligence community”.

Mr Maguire has been replaced in an acting capacity by Trump loyalist and US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell – a move widely criticised due to Mr Grenell’s complete lack of experience in the field of intelligence.

The president has said that he will nominate a permanent appointee to the role of director of national intelligence.

The New York Times reports that Mr Grenell has already installed his own leadership team. He has also requested the intelligence behind the classified briefing Mr Maguire gave to the House Intelligence Committee last week, in which he informed lawmakers that Russia is interfering in the 2020 presidential election in Mr Trump’s favour.

When news of the briefing reached Mr Trump, he was reportedly “livid” and complained that Democrats would use it against him. Mr Maguire was dismissed shortly afterwards.

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