More American officials, institutions and citizens are rebuking Trump for silencing dissent and stifling freedom of speech

STOP. THINK. UNDERSTAND the significance of this issue. There is a pattern here. And it involves YOU and your family. It is so consequential to the future of the United States of America.

“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,” wrote William H. McRaven in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.

McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014. He oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

McRaven wrote the scathing piece in response to President Donald Trump’s abrupt revocation of former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, just because he has been very vocal about his criticism of Donald Trump’s leadership, especially on the issue of the Russia probe.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Brennan wrote, “President Trump’s claims of no collusion are hogwash, that’s why the president revoked my security clearance: to try to silence anyone who would dare challenge him.”

Retired intelligence officials get to keep their security clearances because they provide important guidance and information to those currently serving the country with their years, if not decades, of experience working to keep our country safe.

Following this was a letter signed Thursday, August 16 by 13 U.S. intelligence chiefs appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents in support of Brennan. They included former directors of central intelligence, William Webster, George Tenet and Porter Goss; former CIA directors, Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta and David Petraeus; former directors of national intelligence, James Clapper; former deputy CIA directors, John McLaughlin, Stephen Kappes, Avril Haines, David Cohen and Michael Morell.

Robert Gates, the former director of central intelligence under President George H. W. Bush and the secretary of defense under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama,  signed the letter on Friday.

They all called Trump’s move “an attempt to stifle free speech.”
Trump has warned that he is also revoking the security clearances of other high-ranking officials, stripping them of access to classified information. Nine of these officials under review have all criticized the president.  Many have also been involved in the probe of the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Meanwhile, in the Legislative branch of government, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution Thursday affirming that “the press is not the enemy of the people.”

“Resolved, that the Senate affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people; reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States; and condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States…,” stated the resolution.

This was in response to more than 300 newspapers that joined a nationwide effort to publish editorials on Thursday, fighting back against President Donald Trump’s vilifying and undermining the free press which he labels as “fake news” claiming these news media organizations cover him unfairly.

“This dirty war on the free press must end,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Boston Globe’s editorial page deputy managing editor, said in a press statement. “It calls for urgent action by those committed to free speech and the free press to stand against a White House and its allies who are bent on eroding a pillar of an informed democracy.”

The president doubled down on his toxic rhetoric demonizing the media and tweeted: “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country…BUT WE ARE WINNING!”

Remember what Trump said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention last month? “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news…Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

DO YOU SEE THE PATTERN HERE? Trump is silencing his critics, stifling Americans of their freedom of speech, and abuses his power to silence dissent.

AREN’T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THIS? Are you condoning this President for his abuse of power? Are you complicit in his transgression against our democracy?

READ AND DISCERN from the rest of the statement made by retired Navy Admiral William McRaven:

“Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs. A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

“Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. 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.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.”

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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to,

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

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