WASHINGTON — In a move that will please liberals who believe President Obama is too gentle with the GOP, the White House has lashed back at Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) for calling on counterterrorism official John Brennan to resign, decreeing Bond’s criticisms “pathetic.”
Brennan, who is Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security, last week penned an op-ed for USA Today pushing back on “[p]olitically motivated criticism” of the president’s approach to combating terror, alleging that “unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”
Although Brennan didn’t explicitly point the finger at Republicans, they appear to be his obvious target as Obama has faced forceful criticisms from the GOP over his handling of failed Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Bond seemed to think so, and called for Brennan’s resignation. Bond told the National Review Online on Tuesday that Brennan “needs to go,” as he “has been a mouthpiece for the political arm that I thought only came out of the White House press office.” The Hill confirmed his stance.
The White House didn’t waste much time firing back as spokesman Andy Shapiro on Wednesday called Bond’s claim “pathetic” and dismissed it as an attempt to prioritize politics over the nation’s security.
“Through his pathetic attack on a counter-terrorism professional like John Brennan who has spent his lifetime protecting this country under multiple Administrations, Senator Bond sinks to new depths in his efforts to put politics over our national security,” Shapiro said in a statement to Greg Sargent of the Washington Post‘s Plum Line blog.
Sargent alleges that Bond’s stance is purely political as the senator neglected to mention Brennan’s “25-year career in intelligence and counter-terrorism.” Brennan began working for the CIA in 1980 as an intelligence director and was appointed as CIA deputy executive director in 2001 by President George W. Bush. Three years later, he moved to the National Counter-Terrorism Center.
Bond wasn’t the only Republican to take issue with Brennan’s op-ed. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who quickly attacked the Obama administration’s response to the failed plot, told the National Review Online that Brennan was “an egomaniac” and “trying to be cute.”
TIME alleged on Wednesday that Brennan has become Obama’s “official attack dog” against Republicans on the issue of national security. The article also said that “[t]he debate over counterterrorism tactics has seen a shift to the right over the past year,” noting that Bush “embraced” some of the policies Republicans are now criticizing Obama for.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday found that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, support Obama’s handling of terrorism while 39 percent disapprove. But the poll also revealed that the public prefers that suspected terrorists be tried in military tribunals rather than federal courts.