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Ear to the Ground

Obama’s CIA Pick Stinks of Torture, Targeted Killings

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Posted on Jan 7, 2013
White House/Pete Souza

John Brennan has spent the last four years as President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser and the “architect” of the administration’s expansive drone assassination program. Some time before that, he was a deputy executive director of the CIA when that agency pioneered the use of extradition and torture under President George W. Bush.

Rather than use his electoral victory to shove a dove down the throat of the national security establishment, President Obama seems to be sticking it to the left, by nominating the intelligence veteran to head the CIA. Brennan was prevented from becoming CIA director in Obama’s last term because the former chief of staff to Bush’s CIA director George Tenet had the stink of torture about him. Now, he is the man most credited with an assassination program that features, among other things, a secret presidential kill list.

In his nomination announcement of Brennan, the president spoke of the intelligence officer’s many years of service, his travels in the Arabian Peninsula, and his acknowledgement that we are a nation of laws. Interesting.

Barack Obama via the White House:

There’s another reason I value John so much, and that is his integrity and his commitment to the values that define us as Americans.  He has worked to embed our efforts in a strong legal framework.  He understands we are a nation of laws.  In moments of debate and decision, he asks the tough question and he insists on high and rigorous standards.  Time and again, he’s spoken to the American people about our counterterrorism policies because he recognizes we have a responsibility to be [as] open and transparent as possible.

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—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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