CIA Nominee Resumé Highlights Include Obama “Kill List” and Bush Torture Program

Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Photo Credit: White House


Detractors of John Brennan, whom President Barack Obama wants to take over the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), have a long list of complaints about the longtime intelligence official.


Brennan was originally Obama’s choice to head the CIA after he won his first election to the White House. But the president backed off of the idea after critics cited numerous concerns with Brennan’s background.


Those concerns included Brennan’s endorsement of the Bush administration’s use of rendition and torture on detainees. He also favored granting immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.


Since then, Brennan has added to his list of shortcomings, according to critics.


As Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, Brennan played a key role in the administration’s controversial program to assassinate Americans overseas who are presumably involved in terrorist organizations.


Considered a principal architect of the U.S. drone “kill list,” he’s also wrongly stated that U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan have not resulted in civilian casualties; and he told falsehoods about the killing of Osama bin Laden, saying the former al Qaeda leader “engaged in a firefight” with Navy SEALS and had “used his wife as a human shield.”


Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian strongly dislikes the idea of Brennan taking over the CIA. But he doesn’t see the point of fighting the nomination, as he did before.


“Although I actively opposed Brennan’s CIA nomination in 2008, I can’t quite muster the energy or commitment to do so now. Indeed, the very idea that someone should be disqualified from service in the Obama administration because of involvement in and support for extremist Bush terrorism polices seems quaint and obsolete, given the great continuity between Bush and Obama on these issues,” Greenwald wrote.


He added: “Whereas in 2008 it seemed uncertain in which direction Obama would go, making it important who wielded influence, that issue is now settled: Brennan is merely a symptom of Obama’s own extremism in these areas, not a cause. This continuity will continue with or without Brennan because they are, rather obviously, Obama’s preferred policies.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

John Brennan's Extremism and Dishonesty Rewarded with CIA Director Nomination (by Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

If You Thought Obama’s Drone Godfather Was Powerful, Wait ‘Til He’s at the CIA (by Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman, Wired)

5 Most Terrifying Things about the Likely New CIA Head John Brennan (by Alex Kane, AlterNet)

The One-Man Death Panel: Obama’s Counter-Terrorism Advisor (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Is Obama the Real One-Man Death Panel for Alleged Terrorists? (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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