I commend the effort by Senators Graham and Inhofe to get answers from the White House about Benghazi before a confirmation vote is held for John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Beyond mishandling Benghazi, additional items in Mr. Brennan’s background are cause for concern.
Brennan’s misunderstanding of the global jihadist threat facing America was on display during a February 2010 speech at New York University. Outlining his understanding of the War on Terror, Brennan claimed it wasn’t a war on terror at all, but a war targeted exclusively at Al-Qaeda:
They are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose, and there is nothing — absolutely nothing — holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children. We are not waging a war against terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic that will never be defeated, any more than a tactics of war will. Rather, such thinking is a recipe for endless conflict…We are at war with Al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and any comment to the contrary is just inaccurate.
But the exclusive focus on Al-Qaeda as the sole enemy was rejected by none other than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the testimony she gave to the Senate Armed Service Committee just a few weeks ago, where she warned of a “spreading jihadist threat” in North Africa, one that is growing into a “global movement.”
So it seems that Brennan’s views are extreme even within the senior levels of the Obama administration.
Brennan said as a matter of national policy we needed to reach out to the ‘moderates’ in the Hezbollah terrorist organization, a view he apparently has held for a while as evidenced by a 2006 CSPAN interview where he said that “you can’t divide the world into good and evil.” “Moderate” terrorists?
It bears mentioning that prior to 9/11, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world, not only the 238 Americans killed in the 1983 suicide bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, but the kidnapping and death of U.S. Embassy CIA Station Chief William Buckley.
In addition to Brennan’s dangerous worldview, three developments under his tenure as counterterrorism adviser are deeply troubling.
The first is the Obama administration’s controversial drone policy, which was covered extensively during last week’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Brennan’s office was the epicenter for “kill decisions.” Decisions made outside of either Congressional review or public scrutiny.
The second is the newly released e-book Benghazi: The Definitive Report where two former special operations personnel report that President Obama gave Brennan unilateral authority to conduct secret operations in Northern Africa. According to the information provided in the e-book, former Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was tragically killed in the attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, and CIA Director David Petraeus were left out of the loop. These serious allegations need to be addressed.
The third is the unprecedented highly sensitive national security leaks coming from the White House that put the lives of Americans and others in danger. Including last year, when Brennan was implicated in a leak that blew a joint UK/Saudi intelligence operation that had placed a double agent into the heart of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The operation had to be shut down and the operative quickly removed.
In light of the collapse of our foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and with gaping holes in the unanswered questions surrounding the lack of U.S. attention to the tragedy of Benghazi, to confirm John Brennan now would be a dereliction of duty.