(Reuters) – More than 175 former State Department and Pentagon officials have added their names to a statement signed by national security officials criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan.
New signatories to the statement, which was initially issued last week by 15 former directors and deputy chiefs of the CIA and Office of Director of National Intelligence, include former political appointees and career civil servants. They worked under both Democratic and Republican presidents.
Among the most prominent individuals to sign the statement are former State Department and National Security Counsel lawyer John Bellinger, former Deputy Secretaries of State Anthony Blinken and William Burns, former Undersecretaries of State Nicholas Burns, Wendy Sherman and Thomas Pickering.
Also, former National Security Agency general counsel Robert Deitz, former National Counterterrorism Center directors Michael Leiter and Nick Rassmussen, former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and former NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis.
While those signing may not agree with all of Brennan’s public attacks on Trump, the statement reads, they believe that “the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied” before expert former officials are allowed to voice their views.
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)