Raking Brennan Over the Coals
By Matthew Vadum
CIA director nominee John O. Brennan took heat during a confirmation hearing yesterday but not on the issues that matter most to America’s survival.
The nature of the struggle between the United States and the rest of Western civilization with totalitarian, irredentist Islam, was barely touched upon during Brennan’s confirmation hearing. Distressingly, Brennan is an intellectually vapid, double-talking bureaucrat and leading Obama administration apologist for Islamic terrorism who has exonerated radical Islamists again and again.
But instead of asking Brennan about his softness on terrorism, senators focused on the U.S. use of drone strikes abroad against terrorist targets. Despite his apparent inability to comprehend the nature of our Islamist enemies and the threat they pose to America’s democratic values, Brennan now serves as the Obama White House counter-terrorism and “assassination czar.”
Brennan is regarded as the architect of the administration’s overseas drone program that targets terrorists. President Obama has bragged about personally designating targets for assassination on his so-called kill list.
Although the drone program has scored some major successes, including the instant cremation of senior al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, squeamish senators raked Brennan over the coals regarding the controversial program. Although an enemy combatant, al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen.
“It’s the idea of giving any president unfettered power to kill an American without checks and balances that’s so troubling,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore). “Every American has the right to know when their government believes it’s allowed to kill them.”
Wyden said he’s worried that Obama’s Department of Justice is “not following through” on making available “any and all” opinions on the legality of the drone-enabled killings. The Obama administration allowed senators to view classified papers explaining the legal rationale for the assassinations but the lawmakers said they wanted more. Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) complained about the limited access, saying “our staff was banned from seeing it.”
Brennan defended the drone strikes. “We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there’s no other alternative,” he said, adding that drone attacks are ordered to save lives, not to punish terrorists for past misdeeds.
During the Bush administration Brennan defended the use of water-boarding against terrorists. In the Obama era Brennan has flip-flopped, repeatedly calling water-boarding “reprehensible” and claiming that he previously raised “personal objections” to it.
At yesterday’s hearing he again characterized the practice as “reprehensible” and said, despite growing evidence to the contrary, that it is “not clear” whether water-boarding has yielded useful information.
When questioned, Brennan robotically regurgitated what he was said many times before. “We are at war with al-Qaeda,” he said.
But Brennan wasn’t challenged on various statements that suggest he is so rabidly politically correct that he doesn’t grasp the true nature of America’s Islamist enemies. Indeed the CIA nominee is part of the same crowd that accuses Americans of being bigoted “Islamophobes” for not obediently adhering to the Left’s party line on Islam.
In a 2010 speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Brennan said it was incorrect to use the words “jihad” or “jihadists” to refer to the war that al-Qaeda and its allies are waging against the U.S.
In the Obama administration, officials refuse to “describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community….”
Brennan’s intellectual contortions aimed at reinforcing the PC myth of moderate Islam didn’t end there.
He said it would be “counterproductive” to use the term jihad because doing so “play[s] into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West do so to on behalf of a “holy cause.” Calling it jihad, in other words, validates the terrorists’ justification for terrorism and propagates “the lie” that “the United States is somehow at war against Islam,” he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s front group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has applauded Brennan and Obama for following its recommendations by avoiding the wordIslamist. “Islamist is a stealth slur,” according to CAIR. “It exists as a piece of coded language.”
Brennan is also friendly to Iran and in 2008 called on U.S. officials to “cease public Iran-bashing.” (Investigative reporter Patrick Poole has compiled an excellent partial list of Brennan’s outrageous comments.)
Yesterday’s hearing was repeatedly interrupted by screaming protesters, including activists from Code Pink, who must deem Brennan insufficiently friendly to America’s enemies. Student interns from the group receive college credit for disrupting congressional hearings.
Brennan is part of President Obama’s Islamist-appeasement dream team, alongside defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel with his suspicious ties to Islamist Iran, and pathological anti-American John Kerry as secretary of state. None of this is a great surprise coming from an administration that has been infiltrated by Islamist operatives.
Brennan embraces the Obama administration’s view on Islamist groups worldwide. The administration’s counter-terrorism strategy consists of rolling the dice and backing allegedly “moderate” Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in the blind hope of reducing the appeal of groups such as al-Qaeda that work outside normal political processes.
Somehow these “moderate” groups and some formerly extremist groups, once they grab the reins of governmental power, will change their beliefs and begin to act more responsibly, doing things that redound to the benefit of America and its allies.
Obama officials refuse to recognize the obvious fact that radical Islam is at war with the United States. They stubbornly insist that only al-Qaeda and its affiliates are waging war against America, while refusing to acknowledge that al-Qaeda is just one player in a larger ideological conflict with totalitarian Islam. Domestically, the administration routinely refuses to label obvious Islamic terrorist attacks as such, preferring to call incidents such as the mass shooting by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood as incidents of workplace violence.
As Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, has written:
[D]uring John Brennan’s tenure at the White House, the Obama administration actually promulgated guidelines ensuring that, henceforth, “countering violent extremism” training materials and trainers paid for by the Homeland Security Department and used by any government agency – federal, state or local – must effectively be approved by these “community partners.” That means we are now allowing agents of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization sworn to our destruction, to determine our understanding and awareness of the threat they and their fellow Islamists pose to the rest of us.And Brennan is fine with that.