Saturday, January 10, 2009

Brennan's B.S.

The Washington Post turns in a remarkably loving portrayal of John Brennan here. It's not all their fault though - apparently the Obama staffers love them some Brennan too. And love is blind.

Is it really too much to ask that writers actually report the full extent of John Brennan's resume? From the Post article cited:

"His remarks and his tenure -- he was chief of staff to then-CIA Director George J. Tenet from 1999 to 2001 and director of National Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2005 -- provoked an open complaint against his nomination as CIA director from 200 psychologists."

Really? Why not tell your readers that Brennan was D/EXDIR, no.4 in the CIA between 2001 and 2004? You know, when they decided to torture and accelerate the rendition program? Not relevant to you that he oversaw all that?

And this is completely laughable:

"Obama aides said the president-elect accepted Brennan's assurances that he
played no role in setting abusive interrogation practices at the CIA and that he
had expressed some private dissent about the practices. They said Obama also
accepted the judgment of transition team advisers that Brennan was separated
from any questionable practices by Global Strategies, which formally purchased
Brennan's firm in 2007.

'No one has been more critical of private security contractors than Barack Obama,' said Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy adviser to the president-elect. McDonough said transition aides looked closely at the governing structure of Brennan's company and its parent and concluded that there was no way Brennan was involved with or 'could be accountable' for the actions of Global Strategies' London-based division."

Let's think about this. Brennan says he played no role in setting the interrogation practices. Despite being no.4 in the CIA - and in the direct line of command between Operations and the Director of the CIA. Well, that is pretty creative. And expressing dissent internally? We have, again, no proof of that (unless we get a Congressional investigation) and damningly enough, he expressed SUPPORT for Bush policy - after he left the CIA! "Rendition is a vital tool." What an appallingly low bar set by the Obama administration.

It's unfortunate that the Obama transition team didn't apply its keen eye to the CIA's "governing structure." Because the CIA's governing structure puts Brennan right in the thick of things. And Global Strategies aside, it should be enough, if I interpret the Obama transition team correctly, that he was involved with a business with current contracts with the US government's intelligence agencies. From

Close the Revolving Door on Former and Future Employers: No political appointees
in the Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or
contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two
years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch
after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.

According to this source, Analysis Corp (TAC) has entered into several long-term contracts:

Last October [in 2005] TAC won a contract from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to add its terrorist data base to that of NCTC. The FBI awarded it a $60 million, long-term contract in 2004 to provide technical support to its Terrorist Screening Center.

Here is a summary of their 2007 contracts.

And this is kind of weird - but it is the nature of the new private/public intelligence community:

Since the election, Brennan -- who retains all his top security clearances
-- has been conducting briefings for Obama on the CIA's ongoing covert actions,
and aides said he won Obama's support in those meetings as a "straight shooter"
whom agency officials trust. He has "unrivaled integrity" and a "great
understanding of how all the parts of official Washington are affected by
intelligence," McDonough said.

Shadow intelligence community come to life, I guess. And here is another damning paragraph:

Brennan, who has been on unpaid leave from the firm, plans to resign Jan. 19 and
will have no further financial ties to it, according to a transition official.
Two months ago, the firm won a large five-year contract to provide "intelligence
expertise and support services" to the FBI.

Obama has wantonly betrayed his principles - unless of course Brennan spends the next 22 months avoiding all contact with the FBI in his role as deputy national security adviser. Honoring in that ascetic way the Obama principle that one must not work "on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years."

The media will say what they will, but they are wrong, and Obama is wrong, on Brennan.

If Obama at all falters in keeping his promises regarding torture and rendition, as he has faltered in keeping his public/private lobbying promises, we'll know where to look. We may not be able to prevent Brennan's appointment - but we can certainly try to drive him out of Washington, if Obama does not deliver on his promises.

[crossposted at TalkLeft]

No comments: