This morning on CBS's Face the Nation, Senator Lindsey Graham said he'd place holds on President Obama's national security nominees, Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense and John Brennan for CIA director, until the White House answered questions on the Benghazi terror attack:
John Brennan’s nomination to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency has sparked another debate about Langley’s priorities and deficiencies. Brennan, the king of drones at his counterterrorist perch in the White House, could accelerate, some critics fear, the agency’s transformation into a high-tech killer elite who no longer apply themselves assiduously to the recruitment and running of human spies.
John Brennan is no Chuck Hagel. That much was clear from the confirmation hearings on Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA. Unlike Hagel, who stumbled and mumbled through his performance, Brennan demonstrated a deep knowledge of his brief and answered (or gamely parried) tough questions with great self-assurance and forcefulness.
Two officials from the Obama administration are on the hot seat today on Capitol Hill: John Brennan, who is the president'a chief counterterrorism advisor and who has been nominated to lead the CIA, and Leon Panetta, the retiring defense secretary. For Brennan, the issue is whether he should be confirmed to be the next CIA director; while Panetta will be on Capitol Hill to answer questions about the September 11 terror attack in Benghazi that led to the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Last Wednesday, at 3:46 p.m., the White House Office of Public Engagement (WHOPE) sent an email message to 9/11 families to announce it was sponsoring a conference call the next day with victims' families in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The purpose of the call was "to discuss the Administration's plans to mark the day." We were informed that Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, and John Brennan, deputy national security advisor for homeland security and counterterrorism, would make brief remarks and take questions.
A recently leaked threat assessment prepared at Guantanamo draws into question the Obama administration’s analysis of a detainee who was transferred to Yemen shortly before all future transfers to the unstable nation were suspended.
On 60 Minutes Sunday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made what CBS News rightly called a “remarkable” allegation. Secretary Clinton was first asked if the would-be Times Square bomber had ties to terrorists operating out of Pakistan. “There are connections,” Clinton responded before expressing some ambiguity as to the precise nature of those connections. (Other senior Obama administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan clarified those connections earlier in the day.)
Clinton was asked what message she would deliver to the Pakistanis in the wake of the Times Square attack. She answered:
On Wednesday, March 3, the Senate Armed Services Committee will be holding a closed hearing to “receive a briefing on policies, procedures, and practices relating to the transfer of detainees held at the Guantanamo Detention Facility.” The hearing presents an opportunity for senators to ask tough, but fair, questions about the Obama administration’s detainee transfer policies.
President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, is once again drawing criticism. This time, Brennan’s remarks concerning the Pentagon’s latest Gitmo recidivism study have come under scrutiny.
The Pentagon’s most recent study on Gitmo recidivism concluded that 20 percent of detainees have either been confirmed as, or are suspected of, returning to terrorism. Brennan cited the 20 percent figure in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders earlier this month. Brennan explained that this figure “includes 9.6 percent of detainees who are confirmed recidivists and 10.4 percent of detainees who the Intelligence Community suspects, but is not certain, may have engaged in recidivist activities.”
In a USA Today op-ed this week, assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser John Brennan wrote that "politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda." He's referring to the bipartisan criticism of the administration's decision to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber rather than detain Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant. Accusing your opponents of helping al Qaeda is not the best way to resolve an argument! Yesterday, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions took to the Senate floor to rebut Brennan's arguments. Roll tape: