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James Clapper calls Trump’s criticism of bin Laden raid ‘complete ignorance’

Posted at 7:29 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 09:27:45-05

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Monday criticized President Donald Trump for chastising retired Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

“What this really is is misplaced criticism of Bill McRaven,” Clapper told Brianna Keilar on “CNN Right Now.”

“It’s really a slam at the intelligence community, who was responsible for tracking down Osama bin Laden, and reflects, I think, his complete ignorance about what that took.”

“It took patience and perseverance over a period of years from the intelligence community. Principally, the Central Intelligence Agency. That was more of an indictment against the intelligence committee, though he may not have realized it, rather than Bill McRaven,” continued Clapper, who served as the director of national intelligence under Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

On Sunday, Trump had labeled McRaven — a former Navy SEAL — a “Hillary Clinton fan” when asked about McRaven’s criticism of the President’s rhetoric toward the media.

“He’s a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer,” Trump told Fox News. “And, frankly, wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that?”

Trump doubled down on the sentiment on Monday in a tweet.

“Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did,” he said. “I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!..”

Clapper said Monday that Trump’s comments were “typical.”

“Bill McRaven’s a national hero,” he said. “His performance in orchestrating the actual attack was masterful, and I think the country owes him a great debt for his leadership and his lifetime of service.”