According to Fox News’ sources in Washington, Obama’s nominee for CIA director could make Chuck Hagel’s rocky confirmation hearing, today, look like a cakewalk.
John Brennan, currently the president’s top counterterrorism adviser, will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday afternoon. Unlike Hagel, the Defense secretary nominee who endured withering criticism last week from Republicans, Brennan is facing complaints largely from members of the president’s party.
He’s under fire for his support of the controversial drone program, an issue that flared this week with the leak of a Justice Department memo, though the White House has responded to the controversy by agreeing to release more of its internal memos justifying strikes on terrorist targets overseas.
Brennan also faces continued questions about his views on Bush-era interrogation tactics. Republicans, meanwhile, have lingering questions for Brennan on his knowledge of high-profile leaks last year.
AEI’s Marc Thiessen has provided a list of the top ten national security leaks Brennan needs to explain to the Senate. The curious timing of most of these disclosures is something the Senators should be focusing on.
With the exception of the bin Laden leaks (which began in May 2011) and the exposure of the Israeli basing agreement with Azerbaijan (March 2012), every one of these leaks occurred over a three-month period between May and August of 2012. Six of the most egregious ones took place in just a 25-day period in May/June 2012. All came in the midst of President Obama’s re-election campaign, when he was aggressively making the case for his national security leadership in the war on terror.
Coincidence? Not likely. Brennan should be asked explain this strange confluence of events. He should be asked whether he has been questioned in the investigations into any of these leaks. He should be asked to provide the intelligence committee with a list of everyone who was “in the room” when the presidential briefing on Stuxnet, which was quoted by the Times, took place. He should be asked who else has been questioned, and whether any senior Obama aides have been told they are the targets of an investigation. He should be asked why so many of these leaks took place in a brief period in the midst of a presidential campaign.
Thiessen added an eleventh ObamaLeak Brennan needs to answer for in an update.
The Stuxnet leak to the New York Times was particularly egregious. A top Justice Department official told Thiessen, earlier this month, “if done for political gain, rather than for a bona fide purpose advancing the public interests of the United States, it could be grounds for impeachment.”
Jack Cashill suggested another line of questioning for Republican Senators; the role Brennan played in Obama’s 2008 campaign, specifically his possible involvement in the multiple breaches of the presidential candidates’ passport records in March of 2008.
But don’t hold your breath on that on that.
You can watch the hearing live on CSPAN at 2:30 (ET).