Obama’s pick for CIA director defended drone attacks
President Barack Obama will nominate his top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
Earlier this year, Brennan defended the Obama administration’s use of targeted drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, a practice that has garnered criticism from human rights advocates.
“President Obama and those of us on his national security team are very mindful that as our nation uses this technology, we are establishing precedents that other nations may follow,” Brennan said as the administration sought a “legal architecture” for the tactic. “Not all of those nations may — and not all of them will be — nations that share our interests or the premium we put on protecting human life, including innocent civilians.”
Brennan is a 25-year veteran of the agency, and was nearly nominated to the lead post at the beginning of Obama’s administration, but withdrew himself from consideration after criticism involving the “enhanced interrogation” policies favored by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.
Brennan served as the agency’s deputy executive director during Bush’s administration, but expressed his opposition to both techniques like waterboarding and Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq in a letter sent to Obama after the 2008 election.
Brennan has since gone on to be Obama’s top advisor on counterterrorism matters. The AP reported that he was “deeply involved” in the May 2011 attack that killed Osama bin Laden, the man behind the 9-11 attacks.
If confirmed, Brennan would succeed David Petraeus as agency director. Petraeus resigned from the position in November, admitting to an extramarital affair later revealed to be with his biographer.
[Image by Center for Strategic and International Studies, via Flickr Creative Commons]