Obama to name John Brennan to lead CIA
January 7th, 2013
07:10 AM ET

Obama to name John Brennan to lead CIA

By Pam Benson

If President Barack Obama's selection to lead the CIA is confirmed, it will be a homecoming of sorts.

John Brennan, the president's chief homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, spent 25 years at the Central intelligence Agency distinguishing himself as a Mideast and terrorism expert.

But moving back to Langley would be a big change.

He's spent the past four years at the White House, where he has had Obama's ear.

If there is an act of terrorism against Americans anywhere in the world or a mass shooting at home, Brennan is often the one who picks up the phone or walks into the Oval Office, day or night, to tell the president about the calamity.

He has been the president's trusted counterterrorism and homeland security aide who can be seen in photographs briefing Obama on such incidents as the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, or the Times Square bombing attempt in 2010. He's with the president in the Situation Room during crisis deliberations.

Now Obama wants him to be the CIA director, and many see his time spent in the West Wing as a plus.

"He knows what the president wants from his intelligence community," said Bill Harlow, a former senior CIA official. "And he also knows how to deliver it from having worked at the agency ... There'll be no learning curve for him."

Peter Bergen, CNN's terrorism analyst, said Brennan would lose his immediate access to the president, but added, "he already enjoys such close relations with President Obama that I don't see it being a situation where he won't have the president's ear on a regular basis."

Brennan, 57, joined the CIA after responding to a want ad in the newspaper and spent 25 years there developing a deep knowledge of the Mideast and fluency in Arabic.

He was the CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia when terrorists bombed the Khobar Towers in 1996, killing 19 American servicemen. He also traveled extensively around the region developing ties with officials there.

He served a stint as President Bill Clinton's daily intelligence briefer and moved into senior management positions at the agency. He was CIA Director George Tenet's chief of staff before being named deputy executive director of the agency.

In 2003, Tenet asked him to start what would eventually become the National Counterterrorism Center, a multiagency center intended to bridge the gaps in intelligence apparent after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

When the Bush administration passed him over as the permanent head of the counterterrorism center, he left the agency in 2005 for private business.

In 2008, he signed on to be Obama's intelligence adviser during the presidential campaign.

After the election, he was touted as the shoo-in to become CIA director, but it was not to be. Harsh attacks from critics who claimed he supported the Bush administration's policy of harsh interrogations prompted an embittered Brennan to drop out of consideration for the job he coveted.

In a letter to Obama, Brennan wrote, "It has been immaterial to the critics that I have been a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration, such as preemptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics."

But soon afterward, at Obama's request, Brennan agreed to be the president's assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism. He assumed what has turned out to be a very powerful role within the White House: the point man on all things regarding counterterrorism policy.

Last year in an interview with the Washington Post, Brennan talked about his close relationship with the president.

"Ever since the first couple of months, I felt there was a real similarity of views that gave me a sense of comfort," Brennan said. "I don't think we've had a disagreement."

Brennan has shaped the White House's strategy to aggressively pursue suspected terrorists - dramatically escalating the use of armed unmanned aircraft, often referred to as drones - and to kill them in the ungoverned territories of Pakistan and in Yemen. Small teams of special operations forces have been deployed to critical locations.

Civil liberties and human rights groups who refer to the missile strikes as extrajudicial killings have harshly criticized the drone program.

Brennan became the first government official to publicly discuss the use of drones in a speech last year at the Wilson Center.

"We conduct targeted strikes because they are necessary to mitigate an actual ongoing threat–to stop plots, prevent future attacks and save American lives," Brennan said.

He said the drone strikes are destroying al Qaeda, and as the terrorist threat fades, he hoped the United States would rely less on such killings.

Brennan was intimately involved in the run up to the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound in May 2011.

Bergen interviewed Brennan and other administration officials for his book, "Manhunt: The Ten Year Search for bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad."

He tells the story about one particular debate on whether bin Laden could be at the compound.

"At one point the analysts said whoever is living in this compound has a dog. And of course, very observant Muslims don't have dogs. But Brennan has been on the bin Laden account himself for 15 years, and he remembered that bin Laden in fact had a dog when he was living in Sudan."

Brennan supported the decision to go ahead with the raid even though it was not certain that bin Laden was in fact there.

In a briefing after the assault, Brennan got into some hot water for implying that bin Laden was armed - he was not - and for suggesting that bin Laden used a human shield - he did not.

"There was a female who was, in fact, in the line of fire that reportedly was used as a shield to shield bin laden from the incoming fire," Brennan told reporters.

More recently, the White House has been criticized by some Republicans for the leaks of sensitive information on counterterrorism operations that made the administration look good during the presidential campaign. Brennan has called the leaks devastating and vehemently denied that administration officials were involved.

The controversy over leaks, the drone program and his position on the CIA's interrogation and detention program could make for some rough moments during Brennan's confirmation hearings.

The fact he is coming from the West Wing and frequently talked about the president's views on camera could make him political fodder, Frances Fragos Townsend, CNN's national security contributor, told Security Clearance.

"John came out time and again and did a lot of press early on that angered Republicans on (Capitol) Hill," Townsend said. "Do I think Republicans will treat him not as a former career professional? He's got to expect that the Hill is going to treat him as a political person who is fair game now, rightly or wrongly."

None of the former officials and experts CNN spoke to believes Brennan's nomination would be upended by any of the criticisms of him.

Harlow thinks Brennan is a hard-working, no-nonsense type with the experience to run the agency.

"John's the kind of guy who is the catcher on the team that gets all dinged up, takes his hits but gets the job done," Harlow said.

CNN's John Berman contributed to this report.

Post by:
Filed under: Barack Obama • CIA • Intelligence • White House
soundoff (722 Responses)
  1. Collision Repair


    June 29, 2021 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  2. Nissan Luxury Van Repair


    June 29, 2021 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  3. RV Repair Near My Location

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this web site needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!


    June 29, 2021 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  4. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 29, 2021 at 7:00 pm | Reply
  5. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 29, 2021 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  6. Sprinter Heater Valve Repair

    Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 29, 2021 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  7. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this topic here on your web site.


    June 29, 2021 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  8. Freightliner Sprinter Service


    June 29, 2021 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  9. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 29, 2021 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  10. Toyota Cargo Van Repair

    Very good write-up. I certainly appreciate this site. Continue the good work!


    June 29, 2021 at 9:53 am | Reply
  11. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    bookmarked!!, I really like your blog!


    June 29, 2021 at 9:36 am | Reply
  12. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 29, 2021 at 8:25 am | Reply
  13. Sprinter Auto Repair


    June 29, 2021 at 7:17 am | Reply
  14. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa


    June 29, 2021 at 5:48 am | Reply
  15. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 29, 2021 at 3:48 am | Reply
  16. Dodge Sprinter Van Repair

    Hello there! This article could not be written much better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I am going to send this post to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 29, 2021 at 2:56 am | Reply
  17. RV Repair San Clemente California

    Itís difficult to find educated people in this particular subject, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 29, 2021 at 2:16 am | Reply
  18. RV Repair Nearby

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always useful to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their web sites.


    June 29, 2021 at 12:46 am | Reply
  19. Mercedes Cargo Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  20. Camper Repairs Near Me

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who was doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this topic here on your web page.


    June 28, 2021 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  21. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes that produce the greatest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    June 28, 2021 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  22. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you postÖ


    June 28, 2021 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  23. RV Repair Orange County


    June 28, 2021 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  24. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  25. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  26. Camper Repair Places Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  27. RV Repair Near My Location

    I couldnít resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!


    June 28, 2021 at 11:46 am | Reply
  28. RV Repair Near Me

    Your style is unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.


    June 28, 2021 at 11:31 am | Reply
  29. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 28, 2021 at 7:32 am | Reply
  30. Nearest RV Repair


    June 28, 2021 at 6:43 am | Reply
  31. 2006 Sprinter Transmion Repair


    June 28, 2021 at 6:38 am | Reply
  32. Service B Mercedes Sprinter


    June 28, 2021 at 5:22 am | Reply
  33. Sprinter Resistor Repair

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service? Appreciate it!


    June 28, 2021 at 3:59 am | Reply
  34. Extended Van Repair Shop

    May I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual who actually understands what they're discussing online. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people need to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you're not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.


    June 28, 2021 at 3:55 am | Reply
  35. Van Paint Shop

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now 😉


    June 28, 2021 at 3:22 am | Reply
  36. Ford Transit Conversion Shop Near Me

    Great post! We are linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    June 28, 2021 at 12:12 am | Reply
  37. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 27, 2021 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  38. RV Repair Santa Ana

    This site truly has all the information I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 27, 2021 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  39. RV Repair Garden Grove


    June 27, 2021 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  40. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 27, 2021 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  41. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a superb articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.


    June 27, 2021 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  42. RV Repair California

    I was very happy to find this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to see new stuff in your web site.


    June 27, 2021 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  43. Nissan Cargo Van Repair

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!


    June 27, 2021 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  44. Leadership Images

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    June 27, 2021 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  45. Leadership Articles

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks for sharing!


    June 27, 2021 at 11:16 am | Reply
  46. captivate podcast

    Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 27, 2021 at 10:20 am | Reply
  47. The Society For Collegiate Leadership & Achievement


    June 27, 2021 at 10:13 am | Reply
  48. African Leadership Academy

    You've made some decent points there. I looked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    June 27, 2021 at 5:40 am | Reply
  49. podcast microphones

    Your style is unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this page.


    June 26, 2021 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  50. The Law Firm Leadership Podcast

    Excellent article. I certainly appreciate this website. Stick with it!


    June 26, 2021 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  51. Leadership Coaching

    Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 26, 2021 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  52. Leadership Articles

    Itís nearly impossible to find experienced people in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 26, 2021 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  53. Servant Leadership Examples


    June 26, 2021 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  54. Business Leadership


    June 26, 2021 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  55. RV Service And Repair Near Me

    I absolutely love your website.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my own personal blog and would like to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Many thanks!


    June 26, 2021 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  56. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 26, 2021 at 11:59 am | Reply
  57. RV Camper Repair Near Me


    June 26, 2021 at 10:57 am | Reply
  58. www.pharmaceptica.com

    tadalafil dosage https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 5:22 am | Reply
  59. RV Mobile Repair Near Me


    June 26, 2021 at 2:49 am | Reply
  60. RV Mobile Repair Near Me


    June 26, 2021 at 2:47 am | Reply
  61. pharmaceptica

    tadalafil peptides https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 2:07 am | Reply
  62. RV Trailer Repair Near Me


    June 26, 2021 at 12:28 am | Reply
  63. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    Iím impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thatís both equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I came across this during my hunt for something regarding this.


    June 25, 2021 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  64. RV Repairs Near Me

    I need to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff you postÖ


    June 25, 2021 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  65. Sidney Braly

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may return yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 25, 2021 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  66. RV Generator Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  67. RV Repairs Near My Location

    I was able to find good info from your content.


    June 25, 2021 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  68. Queen Ruether

    Hi there! I could have sworn Iíve been to this website before but after going through many of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím certainly pleased I found it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back often!


    June 25, 2021 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  69. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 25, 2021 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  70. RV Repair Near My Location

    Good information. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    June 25, 2021 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  71. Camper RV Repair Near Me

    Great web site you have got here.. Itís difficult to find high quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    June 25, 2021 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  72. RV Glass Repair Near Me

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Many thanks!


    June 25, 2021 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  73. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!


    June 25, 2021 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  74. Best RV Repair Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing problems with your RSS. I donít know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 25, 2021 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  75. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    Right here is the right webpage for everyone who really wants to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject which has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


    June 25, 2021 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  76. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 25, 2021 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  77. Leadership Course

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉


    June 25, 2021 at 11:45 am | Reply
  78. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 11:33 am | Reply
  79. RV Repair Center Near Me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the website is also very good.


    June 25, 2021 at 11:27 am | Reply
  80. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    Excellent post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..


    June 25, 2021 at 10:44 am | Reply
  81. RV Repair Services Near Me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and the rest of the website is also really good.


    June 25, 2021 at 10:27 am | Reply
  82. Importance Of Leadership


    June 25, 2021 at 10:01 am | Reply
  83. RV Repair Shop

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for providing this information.


    June 25, 2021 at 9:20 am | Reply
  84. RV Repair

    I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.


    June 25, 2021 at 8:56 am | Reply
  85. RV Roof Repair Service Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 8:16 am | Reply
  86. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 8:11 am | Reply
  87. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 25, 2021 at 6:52 am | Reply
  88. RV Service Repair Near Me

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner simply because I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your website.


    June 25, 2021 at 5:47 am | Reply
  89. RV Repair Services Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 4:06 am | Reply
  90. RV And Camper Repair Near Me

    Very good information. Lucky me I found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!


    June 25, 2021 at 3:20 am | Reply
  91. RV Repair Seal Beach

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you ought to publish more on this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people don't speak about these subjects. To the next! Cheers!!


    June 24, 2021 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  92. rv collision and restoration


    June 24, 2021 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  93. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  94. RV Window Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  95. RV Repair Shop Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  96. RV Appliance Repair Near Me

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the net to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    June 24, 2021 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  97. Best RV Repair Shop Near Me

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the most useful sites online. I'm going to recommend this website!


    June 24, 2021 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  98. good sam rv warranty reviews

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this subject here on your internet site.


    June 24, 2021 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  99. RV Generator Repair Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having issues with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 24, 2021 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  100. RV Water Repair Man Near Me

    Excellent article. I'm experiencing many of these issues as well..


    June 24, 2021 at 8:00 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.