Perhaps I’m late to the party, but I just caught the latest Obama appointment, John O. Brennan as top advisor on counterterrorism, “a role that will give the CIA veteran a powerful voice on the government’s use of security contractors and other sensitiive issues in which he recently has played a private-sector role.” He will also wear a dual hat as White House advisor for homeland security.
The senior White House job is not subject to confirmation. Yes, John O. Brennan reportedly withdrew from consideration for CIA chief because of controversial statements he’s made in support of forced renditions of terror suspects and other questionable interrogation methods. He also heads a private contracting firm whose parent company has drawn criticism for the “harsh actions” taken by its private security contractors in all places — Afghanistan and Iraq.
From the Washington Post this morning:
The firm Brennan heads, the Analysis Corp., and its corporate parent have earned millions of dollars over the past decade assisting several federal agencies and private firms on counterterrorism. Those oil and telecommunications firms have worked in countries beset by violence, including Mozambique, Liberia, Colombia and Pakistan — all of which have been topics of intense policy debate in Washington.
The parent corporation, London-based Global Strategies, has been a target of critical news accounts about harsh actions by its hired soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Seems as though Obama was getting his base warmed up with the politically prickly but largely innocuous pick of Leon Panetta, a vocal opponent of the Bush Administration’s harsh interrogation techniques. One needs to be very suspicious when the Malkinaniacs at Hot Air are giving the Brennan pick the high-five:
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 Post mentions that Brennan has broken ranks with the Bush Administration over the issue of Iran and Hezbollah, but that just means he is a realist about certain issues, not necessarily an improvement over the failed status quo advanced by the same old post-Cold War policy establishment. His ties to private counter-terrorism contractors may make one sufficiently uneasy. But the rest of his views are simply unimpressive, as displayed in a March interview with the National Journal.
Overall, a head scratcher, and a disappointment. I’m eager to hear what Phil G has to say on all of this.