A spokesman for the National Security council revealed today that President Obama will announce that John O. Brennan, his counter-terrorism adviser, will be his choice to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Brennan’s nomination will be announced today along with controversial secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel, who has made headlines with his anti-gay remarks and hostility to Israel.
Brennan is not without his own controversies. The president considered appointing Brennan to head the C.I.A. In 2009, but human rights advocates protested, citing Brennan’s links to agency use of water-boarding and other interrogation techniques under George Bush. Brennan denied these accusations, but he withdrew his name from consideration.
In 2010, as assistant to the president for homeland security, Brennan told a meeting of Lebanese leaders that “Hezbollah is a very interesting organization” that has “evolved” from “purely a terrorist organization.” Brennan described White House goals as to “find ways to diminish the influence of certain elements of Hezbollah, and try to build up the moderate elements in Hezbollah.” Hezbollah is recognized as a “foreign terrorist organization” by the United States. In 1983, Hezbollah killed 241 American marines in a suicide bombing attack on US barracks in Beirut.