Obama eyes CIA official who defended Bush policies for top counterterror role

posted at 6:28 pm on January 8, 2009 by Allahpundit

That would be John Brennan, his intel advisor during the campaign, whose support for Dubya’s interrogation protocols after 9/11 (not including waterboarding) made him sufficiently radioactive to progressives to torpedo his chances at running Central Intelligence. A defeat for The One? Not quite: Instead of risking a confirmation battle with the left by naming Brennan to run CIA, he’s evidently planning to move him upstairs to the White House to be his homeland security advisor — which doesn’t require Senate confirmation. And which, given the fact that the incoming CIA chief is a yes man with no experience, means Brennan will have plenty of influence over counterterrorism policy, especially domestically.

Well played, Messiah. Very well played.

The plan being discussed would eliminate the independent homeland security adviser’s office and assign those duties to the National Security Council to streamline sometimes overlapping functions. A deputy national security adviser would be charged with overseeing the effort to guard against terrorism and to respond to natural disasters.

Democrats close to the transition said Mr. Obama’s choice for that job was John O. Brennan, a longtime C.I.A. veteran who was the front-runner to head the spy agency until withdrawing in November amid criticism of his views on interrogation and detention policies. His appointment would not require Senate confirmation…

The likely selection of Mr. Brennan to take over domestic security issues in the White House represents a turnaround. Mr. Brennan, a former C.I.A. officer in the Mideast who served as the first director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was seen as the favorite for C.I.A. director after the Nov. 4 election. But he abruptly pulled out after critics of Mr. Bush sharply criticized Mr. Brennan for past comments that seemed to defend C.I.A. operations after Sept. 11. Mr. Brennan defended his record and called himself an opponent of the harsh interrogation methods used in recent years.

As the blockquote suggests, it’s unclear whether The One will keep the Homeland Security Council (not to be confused with DHS) intact or roll it into the NSC, but Brennan’s role in shaping counterterror protocol seems guaranteed to be significant either way. The HSC is a Bush creation and operates very much below the radar, so Obama may decide to liquidate the brand while retaining the product and simply reassigning its personnel to a sister agency. And on that note, here’s Newsweek editor Jon Meacham with your thought for the day.


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We are so screwed.

upinak on January 8, 2009 at 6:29 PM

Well played indeed. The moonbat left will not be pleased!

Pass the popcorn.

rmel80 on January 8, 2009 at 6:33 PM

“….Brennan will have plenty of influence over counterterrorism policy, especially domestically.”

……….. I wonder what William Charles Ayers thinks of this?

Seven Percent Solution on January 8, 2009 at 6:36 PM

The HSC is a Bush creation and operates very much below the radar, so Obama may decide to liquidate the brand while retaining the product and simply reassigning its personnel to a sister agency.

Would that maintain the “below-the-radar” aspect? I really don’t know, so if someone out there in the intell. community has firsthand knowledge on once independent organizations being rolled into a larger organization maintaining its former role, I’d love to know.

Weight of Glory on January 8, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Hopey changey

grapeknutz on January 8, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Ooopppsss…………… wrong link.

Seven Percent Solution on January 8, 2009 at 6:38 PM

Not content to merely screw conseratives, or even America at large, PEBO is now p*ssing right in the eye of those lefties that labored so hard to get him elected.

Equal Opportunity Scrooming. Glad it’s not just me.

innominatus on January 8, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Hmmm… so… in essence he will give a man, who is not Vetted, the power over one who does have to be vetted by Congress?

Government by the people, and for the people… has become Government to do to the people, what we wish, with no real oversite…

And the Dems in Congress, will tamely sit by, as the balance of powers and oversite gets even MORE out of whack.

Romeo13 on January 8, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Jon Meacham piece:

You’re Bush, you were terrible

Same thing, you’re Obama, you’re a noble endeavour for humanity, or something.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the ‘intelligentsia’ of today. Dog sex love is weird, really weird.

Entelechy on January 8, 2009 at 6:43 PM

It’s all designed to distract you from the real goal, Obammunism. The Kenyan communist experiment, American style.

tarpon on January 8, 2009 at 6:44 PM

A real leader would’ve put the right man in charge of the CIA, politics be screwed.

You start pussyfooting this stuff around…

Skywise on January 8, 2009 at 6:45 PM

I keep thinking “rope-a-dope” and we’re going to get sucker-punched eventually. Brennan seems like a mixed bag – in this interview at National Journal he’s definitely on the “poverty causes terrorism” and the “US image is tarnished abroad” bandwagon. Maybe it’s just lip-service, I don’t know.

http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/080307nj1.htm

Kenrod on January 8, 2009 at 6:46 PM

To emphasize – This isn’t politically clever… this demonstrates political weakness

Skywise on January 8, 2009 at 6:46 PM

That would be John Brennan, his intel advisor during the campaign, whose support for Dubya’s interrogation protocols after 9/11 (not including waterboarding)

I still don’t get why the consensus seems to be that waterboarding counts as torture.

Reporters tried it out to see what it felt like and how long they could last.

To my knowledge no reporter has had someone pull off a fingernail, break off a finger, gouge out an eye, dip them in acid, rape their sister, pull out their tongue or anything else.

If pansy western journalists can do it, it’s probably not torture.

JadeNYU on January 8, 2009 at 6:50 PM

The old bait & switch works when your selling cars,cell phones & appliances but not when your appointing CIA & Intelligence officials.

This whole Obama administration is playing out like a bad television drama. Does Obama know that President Palmer on “24″ was a fictional character? His surgeon General will be a TV doctor, so I guess Obama will portray a TV president.

portlandon on January 8, 2009 at 7:01 PM

he needs someone who actually understands terrorism, not just Clinton Hacks.

rob verdi on January 8, 2009 at 7:03 PM

I still don’t get why the consensus seems to be that waterboarding counts as torture.

Reporters tried it out to see what it felt like and how long they could last.

To my knowledge no reporter has had someone pull off a fingernail, break off a finger, gouge out an eye, dip them in acid, rape their sister, pull out their tongue or anything else.

If pansy western journalists can do it, it’s probably not torture.

JadeNYU on January 8, 2009 at 6:50 PM

Great comment!

surrounded on January 8, 2009 at 7:11 PM

Hm, what awful, terrible means is the Newsweek editor referring to…? Printing false information about our troops at Guantanamo that sparked riots that killed people and harmed our national reputation…? Oh, no wait, that was Newsweek.

CP on January 8, 2009 at 7:14 PM

My gut says that all of these appointments are cover for his intentions – radically restructuring the United States into a progressive wonderland. My gut is full of coffee at the moment though, so it might be a tad uppity.

blankminde on January 8, 2009 at 7:15 PM

Obama to open talks with Hamas!

Popcorn needs more salt.

PappaMac on January 8, 2009 at 7:19 PM

This guy seems like one of the few Obama people that actually has a pair down there.

malan89 on January 8, 2009 at 7:20 PM

A blind sow finds an acorn every now and then.

PappaMac on January 8, 2009 at 7:25 PM

Not content to merely screw conseratives, or even America at large, PEBO is now p*ssing right in the eye of those lefties that labored so hard to get him elected.

Equal Opportunity Scrooming. Glad it’s not just me.

innominatus on January 8, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Now the lefties will know what it’s like for us to deal with McCain…

prolix on January 8, 2009 at 7:34 PM

I still don’t get why the consensus seems to be that waterboarding counts as torture.

In years past waterboarding was officially classed as torture, when it was carried out on American soldiers captured by enemy regimes. That was before it was deemed to be not-torture and carried out on (a handful of) terrorists captured by the US. So the consensus is that it was always torture but has been redefined for political/pragmatic reasons.

aengus on January 8, 2009 at 8:22 PM

In years past waterboarding was officially classed as torture, when it was carried out on American soldiers captured by enemy regimes.

Interesting – so that I understand, since the military has used water boarding as a training exercise for some time, it has been “torturing” its own men?

BTW, does being interrogated by women in tight t-shirts count as torture too?

18-1 on January 8, 2009 at 9:08 PM

Obama’s a former community organizer who apparently is savvy enough to know if he wants to make major changes in domestic social policy, he can’t be interrupted by having planes flying into nuke plants or multiple bombings in malls or on mass transit vehicles. That would probably lead people to want to spend all that $$$ elsewhere, like more counter-terrorist efforts. So it makes sense to blow off the left on foreign policy, given the choice between that and watching al Qaida blow up your domestic policy (and possibly your re-election) hopes.

jon1979 on January 8, 2009 at 9:12 PM

Interesting – so that I understand, since the military has used water boarding as a training exercise for some time, it has been “torturing” its own men?

According to the US military’s past definition, and the current media consensus, yes. Look don’t get mad at me, I support waterboarding terrorists but I was trying to answer the question.

BTW, does being interrogated by women in tight t-shirts count as torture too?

You mean as in blue balls?

aengus on January 8, 2009 at 9:19 PM

A defeat for The One? Not quite: Instead of risking a confirmation battle with the left by naming Brennan to run CIA, he’s evidently planning to move him upstairs to the White House to be his homeland security advisor — which doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

There was some bluster and blowback on Panetta’s appointment, but I suspect that was just the usual ego wars. Any reason to think The One has traded an intra-party confirmation problem with Brennan for one with Panetta?

Jaibones on January 9, 2009 at 9:17 AM