CIA will not embrace “left Democrat” Director, article warns

On November 16, 2008, we reported that John Brennan, former head of the National Counterterrorism Center and supporter of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”, was  said to be “a potential candidate for a top intelligence post” (the CIA) under Barack Obama. Brennan’s support for torture during interrogations proved too controversial for the Obama transition team. On November 25, Brennan sent Obama a letter [pdf] essentially resigning from the candidacy of Director of the CIA. Now The New York Times has published a report describing the Brennan resignation as “the biggest glitch so far in what has been an otherwise smooth transition for Mr. Obama” and warning that Obama’s decision to exclude Brennan from the CIA has “created anxiety in the ranks of the agency’s clandestine service”. Mark Lowenthal, who left the CIA in 2005, is quoted as stating that the President-Elect’s decision to axe Brennan’s name from the directorship candidacy list has been perceived by the agency to mean that “if you worked in the CIA during the war on terror, you are now tainted”. The problem, however, appears to be somewhat deeper than just Brennan’s name, and seems to be related to politics more than anything else. Essentially, “CIA veterans suggest that the president-elect may have difficulty finding a candidate who can be embraced by both veteran officials at the agency and the left flank of the Democratic Party”. [IA]


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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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