Former defense secretary under Obama and Bush signs on to statement supporting Brennan
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Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has reportedly signed a statement condemning President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE's decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanBrennan shreds 'misleading & highly politicized' Barr memo Attorney General Barr puts former intel bosses on notice Iranian president: 'Situation is not suitable for talks' with US MORE, NBC News reported Friday.

Gates is a respected figure among both political parties who served as defense secretary under former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush during the Iraq War.

NBC reported that Gates has added his name to the statement, which was initially backed by several former CIA directors — William Webster, George Tenet and Porter Goss — as well as former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former CIA Director David Petraeus, along with a number of other officials. 

The statement was notable coming from leaders in the intelligence community who have served under both Democratic and Republican administrations. 

The statement said that taking away Brennan's security clearance, and threatening to take away the clearances of other officials, was "ill-considered" and "unprecedented."

"Security clearances should be based on national security concerns and not political views," it stated. "We all agree that the president's action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances."

Trump has said that he revoked Brennan's clearance because of his role in the early stages of the Russia probe. Trump said that he considers Brennan and other former intelligence officials whose clearances he's considering revoking among the leaders of the investigation. 

“I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham. And these people led it!” Trump said hours after Brennan's clearance was being revoked. 

“So I think it’s something that had to be done," he added.