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John Brennan's Confirmation Hearing

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold a hearing at 2:30 pm ET today on the nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director.

Yesterday, President Obama announced that the Office of Legal Counsel's targeted kill memo(s) will be provided to the members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Brennan's answers to pre-hearing questions are here. His answers pertaining to rendition, detention and interrogation begin on page 21.

Brennan, who is expected to be confirmed, will face some tough questioning, especially by Democrats. [More...]

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Obama Chooses Hagel and Brennan

Counterterrorism chief John Brennan is President Obama's choice for director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Also as expected, he nominated Republican Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary.

As for Brennan,

Mr. Brennan has played a central role in Mr. Obama's most critical and controversial counterterrorism and security policies. He has been a chief driver of Mr. Obama's acceleration of the CIA's drone program and its expansion into Yemen. He also has been central in navigating the politics surrounding the administration's inability to close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mr. Brennan also has served as an emissary to Yemeni officials to manage counterterrorism operations there and in Somalia and has helped steer white House security policy in response to the Arab Spring. [More...}

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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...]

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Stephen Kappes & The Rendition of Abu Omar

It has been reported (here and here) that Stephen Kappes, current Deputy Director of the CIA, is a leading candidate for Director of the CIA under President-Elect Barack Obama. The NY Daily News goes so far as to say that "Some Democrats on Capitol Hill have strongly advocated" the nomination of Kappes.

Critics of the bloggers who were against John Brennan's nomination to a top intelligence position frequently whined that he was getting a bad rap (see Greenwald's article "The CIA and its reporter friends: Anatomy of a backlash"). One critic goes so far as to say "Brennan's hands were not very dirty at all. He was apparently thrown under the bus because some ill-informed bloggers thought they were [dirty] and the transition folks didn't have the will to explain that they were wrong." (as quoted by Greenwald from Jeff Stein's CQ article).

Let's see how they choose to defend Stephen Kappes. There can be no vague denials that Kappes had dirty hands - at his feet rests the responsibility for the bungled and unnecessary rendition of Muslim cleric Osama Mustafa Hasan Nasr aka Abu Omar.

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The Broader CIA Critique

In Glenn Greenwald's recent Salon article, "Some observations after being involved in a Fox News report," he discusses his attempt to set the record straight when it comes to the left blogs' John Brennan critique. I believe he is mostly right when he says:

"Specifically, the case against John Brennan as CIA Director - from the beginning - was based almost exclusively on comments he made on television, after he left the CIA, in which he supported rendition and what he called 'enhanced interrogation tactics.'" [bolding Greenwald's]

That was indeed the basis for the Brennan critique. John Brennan, basically, did this to himself - he was the one who stood up and acted as a mouthpiece for the Bush administration's tactics. The mass media doesn't understand this for some reason. Despite the fact that Brennan's statements are out there for the world to see, the MSM did little to present them to their viewers/readers.  But even if Brennan hadn't put his foot in his mouth, I believe he would've been, by virtue of his former place in the chain of command, disqualifed for the CIA Director position.

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On Brennan & Torture Commissions

Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald linked to what he describes as a "very realistic, and rather Obama-sympathetic, point of view regarding his appointments and what he intends to do."  This link was to Jane Hamsher's diary "Obama and a Paucity of Progressives."  

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The Company's Company Man: Notes on Brennan 3

I have wanted to write something on John Brennan that has to do with his post-CIA business dealings and his chairmanship of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (which dates from Spring 2007 til about a week ago).  Like most other aspects of Brennan, his business and INSA dealings disturbingly reflect the status quo at the CIA and will in practice undermine Obama's stated goals if he is appointed CIA Director.

For this diary I will be leaning heavily on Meteor Blades' review of Tim Shorrock's "Spies for Hire" and Tim Shorrock's book itself, portions of which can be read for free on Google Books.  I want to use their insights to demonstrate Brennan's involvement in the corruption of the Bush administration.

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CIA CYA: Notes on Brennan Part 2

Recently, I wrote a diary outlining the many reasons why John Brennan should not serve in any capacity, particularly as head of the CIA, in the Obama administration.  Fortunately the number of people questioning Brennan's association with Obama has grown.

If Obama appoints Brennan to head the CIA, it is truly a big deal and a big problem.  It is not enough that Brennan does not approve of waterboarding at this moment.  

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Why We Should Say No to Brennan

As Obama puts together his transition teams for various departments and looks to future appointments, and we approach the exciting day of January 20th, I think it is important to be clear and to provide a strong body of resources for progressive opposition to John Brennan.  

I think it is important to recognize that we can do a lot better than John Brennan.  The purpose of this diary is to collect important sources, show evidence of Brennan's complicity in the worst of the Bush administration's programs, demonstrate Brennan's association with the most conservative aspects of the intelligence community, and show that there are better experts out there.

Thanks to the people who authored these sources, and esp. to BTD for bringing up Brennan in the first place.  I hope this is not too repetitive but I think it is important to gather all this information in one diary/place.

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