John O. Brennan to be nominated as next CIA director


John Brennan


Saul Loeb

President Barack Obama is expected to nominate John O. Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, according to reports.

Brennan currently serves as Obama's top counterterrorism adviser and is a 25-year veteran of the CIA. The nomination is expected to be announced formally by the White House on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.

The president is also widely expected to nominate Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary during on Monday. Brennan and Hagel, if they are nominated, and Obama's pick for secretary of state, John Kerry, will all need to be confirmed by the Senate.

The Associated Press reported that both Brennan and Hagel are "potentially controversial picks" for a second-term national security team.

Brennan was considered for CIA director in 2008, but withdrew his name after questions were raised about his connection to the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques under the Bush administration. Brennan spoke out against the tactics and denied any involvement.

However, a White House official speaking to CBS News explained that they don't expect Brennan to face the same kind of trouble.

"The issue has been removed from the debate because the president and John Brennan, as his top counterterrorism adviser, brought those techniques to an end," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said. 

Hagel, meanwhile, has faced criticism from congressional Republicans who complain that the former senator does not take a tough enough stance against Iran and is anti-Israel. The White House disagrees, claiming that Hagel's positions on Iran and Israel have been misrepresented. 

The nomination will also be controversial because of Brennan's stance on drone warfare. 

In April, Brennan defended drone strikes as legal and ethical weapons to use against Al Qaeda.

"The United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific Al Qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones," Brennan said during a speech a the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, according to Agence France-Presse. "The constitution empowers the president to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack."

Glenn Greenwald, a political reporter for Salon, wrote in May that in the years Brennan has served as Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, he's been caught "peddling serious falsehoods," including a claim that there hadn't been civilian casualities during a previous year of the drone program.

Brennan's comments were responsible for the narrative that Osama bin Laden "engaged in a firefight" with US forces entering his house and "used his wife as a human shield" during the raid that killed the Al Qaeda leader, according to The New York Times. The White House later changed its account of the event, saying that bin Laden had been unarmed, and that a woman killed during the raid was shot on another floor of the house.

The internet is already buzzing about Obama's impending announcements. Here's a look at the conversation:

[View the story "More drones? More torture? " on Storify]More drones? More torture?

Twitter responds to Obama's controversial nomination of John Brennan as CIA director

Storified by GlobalPost· Mon, Jan 07 2013 04:42:33

I wonder if all of John Brennan's misstatements regarding the OBL raid will come back to haunt him....Matt Frendewey
.@chucktodd @morning_joe Is anyone discussing Brennan's war profiteering (2005-2011?) His signature Drone policy? His support for torture?Travis Thornton
And obama's new appointed director of the CIA, John Brennan is mostly known for agreeing with Dick Cheney's stance on torture.Grim Logik
So John Brennan is being nominated to be CIA Director? Interesting. He's a torture advocate. #GOP won't block him! :((( cc: @barackobama #P2Ron Cordry
Remember how the US counts all military-age males in a strike zone as "militants"? That's a John Brennan original, folks.Drones
Brennan supports extensive uses of drones domestically, lethal use of drone and supports enhanced interrogation. A real charmer.thomas-purcell.com
What will #CIA involvement in drone warfare look like should Brennan become director? #drones #uspoliMatt Redding
John Brennan, President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, he's a person of interest that should be examined, with diligence. #DronesPIRATES
Brennan has been one of the largest proponents of the use of drones, specifically from a legal standpoint, likely to see that expandLeigh Drogen
Does John Brennan mean.... more drones or less drones? #CIADee Faced
last time Obama put John Brennan forward for CIA, he was forced to withdraw because he supported torture. Is the US cool with torture now?weldon kennedy