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Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

Dr. Robert Gates has added his name to a stunning list of former intelligence officials who signed a letter criticizing President Trump's decision to revoke former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance.

Why it matters: Gates has served eight presidents, including stints as CIA director, and later as Defense Secretary for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In the the letter, the former officials state that "decisions on security clearances should be based on national security concerns and not political views." They also call the decision "ill-considered and unprecedented."

Other signees:

  • William H. Webster, former director of Central Intelligence (1987-1991)
  • George J. Tenet, former director of Central Intelligence (1997-2004)
  • Porter J. Goss, former director of Central Intelligence (2005-2006)
  • General Michael V. Hayden, USAF, Ret., former director of the CIA (2006-2009)
  • Leon E. Panetta, former director of the CIA (2009-2011)
  • General David H. Petraeus, USA, Ret., former director of the CIA (2011-2012)
  • James R. Clapper, former deputy director of the CIA (2010-2017)
  • John E. McLaughlin, former deputy director of the CIA (2000-2004)
  • Stephen R. Kappes, former deputy director of the CIA (2006-2010)
  • Michael J. Morell, former deputy director of the CIA (2010-2013)
  • Avril Haines, former deputy director of the CIA (2013-2015)
  • David S. Cohen, former deputy director of the CIA (2015-2017)

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.