Controversy over head of Obama’s terrorism watch-list review

John Brennan

John Brennan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A veteran CIA official appointed to review the US government’s defective terrorism watch-list system, was actually involved in designing it, and later helped sustain it through a lucrative private-sector contract. John O. Brennan was appointed by President Barack Obama on Sunday to head a “comprehensive interagency review” of travel security measures, after it was revealed that the father of Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Christmas Day airline bomb plot suspect, had notified the CIA about his son’s activities. It turns out, however, that not only was Brennan part of the US National Counterterrorism Center team that designed the terrorism watch-list system, but he also helped sustain it while heading the Analysis Corporation, a scandal-prone private contractor charged with overseeing the watch-list system. Politico’s Carol Lee and Laura Rozen are among the very few reporters who have connected the dots on Brennan. They report that the same individual who “helped design the current watch-list system and served as interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center, whose role is under review” has been tasked with assessing the very system helped set up. Late on Thursday, White House attorneys apparently “determined that the benefit to the public interest of having Mr. Brennan conduct the review far outweighed any potential conflict of interest”. But the controversy remains: Lee and Rozen quote an anonymous “former senior intelligence official” who describes Brennan’s latest appointment as “unsavory”.

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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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