Tags: Barack Obama | CIA Torture Report | War on Terrorism | torture | CIA | terrorism | Senate Intelligence

NYT: Obama, CIA's Brennan 'Kindred' Spirits in War on Terror

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 06:27 AM

President Barack Obama and CIA director John Brennan are "kindred spirits" in trying to conduct the war against terrorist groups in a way that balances national security with civil liberties, The New York Times reported.

Before the CIA director went on television Dec. 11 to defend the use of the agency's interrogation tactics in the face of a highly critical Senate Intelligence Committee report, he stopped by the White House and obtained Obama's tacit backing.

Both men are said to have personally opposed the use of torture but don't want to talk down the agency whose role in fighting terrorism is so critical.

The two men have established a unique working relationship. The president is standing by his intelligence chief in the face of calls by Democrats for his resignation over controversial interrogation methods employed by the agency during the George W. Bush administration.

Brennan has been strident in rejecting the Senate report's assertions that the enhanced interrogation program did not frustrate terrorism plots. Obama is purportedly less certain this is the case but will not publicly contradict his spy chief, the Times reported.

When the two men first met, Brennan's resume was seen as complementing Obama's lack of familiarity in national security. The veteran spy is an Arab affairs specialist and speaks Arabic. He had helped set up the precursor to the National Counterterrorism Center after the 9/11 attacks.

Obama wanted him to take over the CIA, but the idea ran afoul due to Democratic opposition. Brennan instead got a White House job that put him in charge of the war on terrorist groups, the Times reported.

Brennan did not agree with then-CIA director Leon Panetta's cooperation with the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into the use of enhanced interrogation — and resisted the characterization that what the CIA had done was torture.

When Brennan took over the agency he continued to battle committee Democrats.

Liberal critics say he has been too faithful to the agency in "trying to make sure none of his people are in legal peril" when he should be focusing on setting standards for the future, said Elisa Massimino of Human Rights First, the Times reported.

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President Barack Obama and CIA director John Brennan are "kindred spirits" in trying to conduct the war against terrorist groups in a way that balances national security with civil liberties, The New York Times reported.
torture, CIA, terrorism, Senate Intelligence, report
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2014-27-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 06:27 AM
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