President Barack Obama’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, John Brennan, said that people on federal government no-fly lists are subjected to “unnecessary searches and inconvenience.”
Brennan’s 2010 remarks depart from the current Democratic Party effort to ban people on the no-fly list from purchasing firearms. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is using that effort as a political tool to bash Republicans and the National Rifle Association, saying, “If you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun in America.”
Republicans have blocked the measure for various reasons, including because, as Marco Rubio put it, “The majority of the people on the no-fly list are often times people that just basically have the same name as somebody else who don’t belong on the no-fly list.”
But Brennan, who then served as President Obama’s homeland security adviser, spoke at the Islamic Center at New York University in February 2010, where he seemed to take the eventual Republican side in the political battle that sprang up several years after his remarks.
In the spirit of candor, we must also acknowledge that over the years the actions of our own government have at times perpetuated those attitudes. Violations of the Patriot Act, surveillance that has been excessive, policies perceived as profiling, over-inclusive no-fly lists subjecting law-abiding individuals to unnecessary searches and inconvenience, creating an unhelpful atmosphere around many Muslim charities that made Muslims hesitant to fill their sacred obligation of zakat. (17:00 Minute Mark In Video Below)
Of those and other problems, Brennan said, “President Obama and his administration are pursuing a comprehensive approach to address them.”
Brennan also praised Islam, disparaged terrorists who supposedly misrepresent Islam, and said that jihad is a legitimate “holy struggle.” He said:
But for more than three decades I have also had the tremendous fortune to travel the world, and as part of that experience to learn about the goodness and beauty of Islam. As a college student in the 1970’s, I spent a summer traveling through Indonesia, taking in the wonderful landscape, culture and people of Java and Bali. Despite my long hair, and my earring, and my obvious American appearance, I was welcomed throughout that country in a way that is a reflection of the tremendous warmth of Islamic cultures and societies. Like the president during his childhood years in Jakarta, I came to see Islam not how it is often misrepresented, but for what it is…A faith of peace and tolerance and great diversity.
“They are not jihadists,” Brennan said of terrorists. “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.” (12:15 Mark n Video Below)