President Barack Obama is expected to nominate John Brennan as the next director of the CIA, though the choice of Brennan is viewed as a potentially controversial, The Associated Press reported Monday, Jan. 7.
Brennan, 57, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, withdrew his name from consideration for the agency’s top job in 2008 when liberals questioned his connections to harsh interrogation techniques used during the George W. Bush administration. John Brennan denied being involved in what the government called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
In a 2008 letter to President Obama, Brennan admitted he was “a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration, such as the pre-emptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding.”
Reportedly White House officials do not expect Brennan to face similar difficulty this time around given his four years of service in the Obama administration. John Brennan is the president’s top counterterrorism advisor and was deeply involved in the planning of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy security advisor said, "The issue has been removed from the debate because the president and John Brennan, as his top counterterrorism adviser, brought those techniques to an end.”
However, Brennan's nomination may put a spotlight on the administration's controversial drone program. Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge the highly secretive targeted killing operations. Brennan has also led administration efforts to stop the growth of terror organizations in Yemen, as well other areas in the Middle East and North Africa.
If confirmed, John Brennan will succeed David Petraeus, who resigned in November after admitting to an affair with his biographer. Deputy CIA director Michael Morell is currently acting CIA director and was considered by Obama for the CIA’s top job. Morell will attend the White House press conference this afternoon and is expected to say on at the CIA.
President Obama is expected to announce Chuck Hagel as his choice for defense secretary today, also.
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