Obama Taps John Brennan for Terrorism Adviser
President-Elect Barack Obama gets his man:
Barack Obama has picked John O. Brennan as his top adviser on counterterrorism, a role that will give the CIA veteran a powerful voice on the government's use of security contractors and on other sensitive issues in which he recently has played a private-sector role.
.... The president-elect's decision comes only six weeks after Brennan was forced to pull out of contention for the directorship of the CIA because of fears that his statements supporting some controversial interrogation techniques would have complicated his confirmation.
This reminds me of Bush's tendency towards recess appointments to get around Senate confirmation. [More...]
Brennan heads up a firm called the Analysis Corp, which is owned by Global Strategies:
London-based Global Strategies, has been a target of critical news accounts about harsh actions by its hired soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama has criticized the actions of similar firms, such as Blackwater Worldwide, and co-sponsored legislation to ensure that such firms are subject to U.S. laws even when operating overseas.
Not only that,
Brennan also has attracted personal criticism from human rights experts for defending the CIA's long-standing practice of forced renditions, or transfers, of terrorism suspects for interrogations, a position that forced the withdrawal in late November of his candidacy to head the CIA.
In prior positions, he also drew complaints:
He was chief of staff to then-CIA Director George J. Tenet from 1999 to 2001 and director of National Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2005 -- provoked an open complaint against his nomination as CIA director from 200 psychologists.
Obama aides said the president-elect accepted Brennan's assurances that he played no role in setting abusive interrogation practices at the CIA and that he had expressed some private dissent about the practices. They said Obama also accepted the judgment of transition team advisers that Brennan was separated from any questionable practices by Global Strategies, which formally purchased Brennan's firm in 2007.
Big Tent Democrat has written a score of posts critical of Brennan, accessible here.
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