"All The President's Men" - Meet John Brennan, Obama's CIA Director.HatTip to PJ Media and IPT News for their 'Biography' of J.Brennan previously known also as 'The Assassination Czar.'
A relatively unnoticed article by Associated Press reporter Kimberly Dozier two weeks ago outlined new Obama administration policy changes which consolidated power for authorizing drone attacks and assassinations under political appointees within the White House.
The article identifies White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan as the official assuming the role of Obama’s de facto assassination czar, raising concerns even within the Obama administration that the White House is increasingly turning into “a pseudo-military headquarters” under the direction of just a few senior Obama administration officials.
Adding to these concerns are serious questions about Brennan’s qualifications for this role.
Even before the 2008 election, eyebrows were raised over Brennan’s role in the Obama campaign. An employee of The Analysis Corporation, of which Brennan was CEO, had improperly accessed passport information for Hillary Clinton, Obama’s Democratic primary challenger at the time, and GOP nominee John McCain. At the time, Brennan was a top adviser to the Obama campaign, and Brennan’s employee was not fired. (One of the key witnesses in the case was found murdered in his car outside his church while the investigation was still ongoing.)
Brennan was involved in administration intrigue related to the release of convicted Libyan Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from a Scottish jail in August 2009. At the time of Megrahi’s release — when he returned to Libya to a national hero’s welcome — Brennan described the release as “unfortunate, inappropriate, and wrong” and called for his reimprisonment. However, Obama administration documents obtained by The Sunday Times revealed that the White House had secretly informed Scottish authorities that they found compassionate release more palatable than the reimprisonment of Megrahi in Libya.
Brennan also came under fire after would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab nearly brought down a U.S.-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009. British intelligence authorities had notified their U.S. counterparts of an “Umar Farouk” meeting with al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, and Abdulmutallab’s father had warned of his son’s increasing extremism to CIA officials at the U.S. embassy in Nigeria. However, Abdulmutallab was never added to the U.S. no-fly list, nor was his U.S. visa revoked.
Following this stunning and nearly fatal intelligence failure which prompted members of both the House and Senate Intelligence oversight committees to call for his resignation, Brennan lashed out at the Obama administration’s critics in a USA Today editorial. He claimed that the “politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”
Brennan also defended treating Abdulmutallab as a criminal by having his rights read to him upon arrest and trying him in civilian court, rather than transferring the would-be bomber to military custody as an enemy combatant.
Just days later, Brennan gave a speech to Islamic law students at New York University, where he was introduced by Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America. Mattson, who had been involved with the Obama inaugural prayer service, had come under fire then for her organization’s longstanding terrorist support.
During his NYU speech, Brennan defended the administration’s highly unpopular move to try al-Qaeda operations chief Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court (which the administration eventually backed away from). He claimed that terrorists are the real victims of “political, economic and social forces,” said that Islamic terrorists were not jihadists, referenced “Al-Quds” instead of Jerusalem, and described the 20 percent of former Guantanamo detainees returning to terrorist activities as “not that bad” when compared to ordinary criminal recidivism.
During a talk at the Nixon Center in May 2010, Brennan said that the administration was looking for ways to build up “moderate elements” of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Two weeks later, at a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Brennan defended the Islamic doctrines of jihad as “a holy struggle” and “a legitimate tenet of Islam.”
These missteps and misstatements by Brennan prompted the Washington Times to editorialize in June 2010 that “President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser knows very little about terrorism, and that’s scary for America,” and to warn that “Mr. Brennan’s curious views may be part of a larger move by the O Force to redefine terrorism”.
Rep. Peter King, then-House Homeland Security Committee ranking member (now committee chairman), called for Brennan’s firing, saying:
Here’s the problem … and this is from people from the intelligence community too. John Brennan is running intelligence policy from the White House. He is getting in the weeds in different intelligence organizations that are out there. He’s doing this from the White House. Obviously, he is not subject to Congressional scrutiny, because he’s on the White House staff, and it’s a very dangerous situation, where you have a homeland security advisor who is beyond the reach of Congress actually making, running, and carrying on intelligence policy. It’s wrong. I’m not aware of it happening before.Stung by these criticisms, Brennan demanded to meet with the editorial staff of the Washington Times. During the June 2010 meeting, Brennan claimed that the newspaper had misrepresented his views, even as the editors read his statements directly from his speeches posted on the White House website.
When Brennan was cornered by senior editorial writer Jim Robbins about his views on jihad being a legitimate tenet of Islam, Brennan abruptly ended the interview and stormed out of their offices.
In September 2010, after I broke the story that a known top U.S. Hamas official had been given a guided tour of the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center and FBI Academy at Quantico under Brennan’s watch, several former top intelligence and defense officials again called for his resignation.
Last month, it was revealed that Brennan was implicated in a serious intelligence breach detailing an ongoing counterterrorism operation led by British and Saudi intelligence agencies that had placed an operative deep inside the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) organization. The White House leak forced the termination of the operation and the immediate withdrawal of the double agent, infuriating our foreign intelligence allies.
Just two weeks ago, internal White House documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a FOIA request revealed that Brennan and other White House officials had met twice with Hollywood filmmakers preparing a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden, providing them unparalleled access including the identity of a SEAL Team 6 operator and commander along with other classified information. Amazingly, these high-level White House meetings between Brennan and the Hollywood filmmakers took place just weeks after the Pentagon and CIA had publicly warned of the dangers posed by leaks surrounding the successful SEAL raid killing bin Laden.Hmmmm...SEAL team that was killed later!
John Brennan is the man under whom President Obama has consolidated the unprecedented power of assassination. He directly controls and oversees all aspects of the program that had been previously divided between the Pentagon, the CIA, and other officials. If this is the kind of policy change that Americans can expect in light of Obama’s promise to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev of “more flexibility” after the 2012 elections, Americans of all political stripes have reason for grave concern.Hmmmm.......How many Americans are on the lists to be 'executed'?
Another 'FlashBack' from IPT News
May 24, 2010.
"Hizballah is a very interesting organization," Brennan said. Speaking at a conference sponsored by the Nixon Center in Washington, Brennan said the group had evolved from "purely a terrorist organization" into one with members in the Lebanese Parliament and cabinet.
"There is [sic] certainly the elements of Hizballah that are truly a concern to us, what they're doing," Brennan said. "And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements."
Hizballah, a close ally of Iran, has a long history of terrorism and politically motivated thuggery. These include actions like the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut; the torture-murder of Americans like this, this, and this; terrorist attacks against Israel like these and violence like this targeting other Lebanese Muslims.
In a recent speech, Hizballah boss Hassan Nasrallah categorically rejected making peace with Israel. He said any dialogue with Washington would only occur under conditions dictated by Hizballah.
Nasrallah made similar remarks a year ago after British officials discussed overtures toward Hizballah's political wing. U.S. officials publicly disagreed with the idea, expressing revulsion about the group and saying, "We don't see the differences between the integrated leadership that they see."
And it's not clear what his remarks meant. At least two officials issued subsequent statements insisting there has been no change in American policy that Hizballah is a terrorist group and the U.S. will not engage in talks with it. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently rebuked Syria for arms shipments to Hizballah that she said pushed the region toward war.
Regardless, Brennan's comments about Hizballah are "delusional," according to Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute.
"There are moderates in Hizballah," Rubin said. "A 'moderate' in Hizballah is someone who makes car bombs out of smaller-size vehicles."
Brennan's comments suggest he is operating under the illusion that groups like Hizballah are analogous to Western political organizations, Rubin said. But the Shi'ite group's longstanding use of violence and threats to attain its political goals make it an unsuitable negotiating partner.
Brennan's suggestion that the United States talk to Hizballah "legitimizes achieving power through violence," Rubin told the IPT. "The streets of South Beirut are littered with the bodies of Shi'ites" who ran afoul of Hizballah.
"There are no moderates in Hizballah," said Farid Ghadry, former president of the Reform Party of Syria. "They are about dictating a terrorism agenda and promoting an Iranian effort to control the region. They want to kick the U.S. out."
Ghadry, a Muslim, has long been the face of anti-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-democracy forces in Syria. He spent much of his childhood in Lebanon, fleeing in 1975 when the civil war broke out. He has not been back to Lebanon since 1996, when Syrian security forces attempted to arrest him in retaliation for his efforts to replace the Ba'athist dictatorship (a close ally of Hizballah) with a popularly elected government.
Ghadry believes Brennan and the Obama Administration are "indirectly promoting the goals of Hizballah" based on "a lack of understanding of the region." He said Brennan is "stepping on a landmine" by pushing for dialogue with Hizballah.
When Washington attempts to engage with Hizballah, it undercuts the efforts of moderate Muslims and Christians in Lebanon, Ghadry said. He noted that in recent months, onetime opponents of Damascus and Hizballah like Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri have taken a very soft approach to Syria and Hizballah – which are working in tandem to subvert Lebanon.
The Brennan/Obama approach to Hizballah "demoralizes" moderates, who see the writing on the wall and decide they need to cut their own deals with the Shi'ite radical group, Ghadry told the IPT.
"The U.S. government sees this and says, 'Ah-ha, the moderates like Hariri and Jumblatt want to make deals with Syria and Hizballah, so we need to do it,'" Ghadry said. The result is a "vicious circle" of weakness. "It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy," he added.
During recent Lebanese elections, Hizballah operatives burned automobiles and election headquarters of their opponents, "leaving no room for opposing candidates to run against the Khomeinist organization," said Dr. Walid Phares of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
"Stating that Hizballah is moving away from terror and violence because it has placed its members inside the Lebanese legislature would be the equivalent of stating that a Taliban militia was able to elect its members to an Afghan parliament in districts it controls with arms and money," Phares said. "This is the strangest proposition of the year."
Brennan's remarks "make Lebanese leaders, politicians and journalists laugh at the naivete of the U.S. administration," Phares told the IPT. "Worse and more dangerous, this will embolden Hizballah to continue with its strategies based on terror and intimidation." Brennan's Nixon Center remarks are just the latest questionable comment he has made since joining the Obama Administration last year.
In an August 6, 2009 speech, Brennan (picking up on a theme that started in the Bush Administration) stated that the Obama Administration rejects the word "jihad," preferring instead the term "violent extremism."
In a February 2010 speech at New York University, Brennan heaped praise on Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Ingrid Mattson, who introduced him. "As an academic whose research continues the rich tradition of Islamic scholarship, and as president of the Islamic Society of North America…you have been a voice for the tolerance and diversity that defines Islam," Brennan told Mattson. "We were proud to welcome you and many others to the White House for the [summer 2009] iftar dinner with the president."
ISNA is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-support prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which ended with convictions on 108 counts. ISNA also traces its roots back to Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States. Its 2009 convention featured a panel with anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric.
During the February speech, Brennan referred to Jerusalem as "Al Quds," its Arabic name, and again criticized use of the word jihad to describe jihadist terror. According to Brennan, "terrorists are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a holy purpose." He also said that, in the past, surveillance of U.S. Muslims under the Patriot Act has been "excessive" and that government policies "made many Muslims hesitant to fulfill their sacred obligation of zakat."