The Official John Brennan Story


The NYT has chosen to have someone who presented an outdated picture of drone targeting that covered up changes implemented under John Brennan report on John Brennan’s nomination to be CIA Director. The story is predictably imbalanced.

Take this claim, for example:

It is uncertain whether the torture issue will now cause any problems for Mr. Brennan. But he is a far more well-known figure than in 2009, having made many public appearances in the wake of terrorist plots and to explain the legal and policy arguments behind drone strikes.

It’s fair, as far as it goes. I do doubt that Obama will care that his CIA Director has protected the CIA’s torturers. I do think Brennan has seduced enough beltway journalists so as to withstand criticism for his views.

But Scott Shane suggests Brennan’s many public statements on drones were 1) accurate and 2) consisted of actual explanations for drone strikes.

This, coming from a guy who has noted Brennan getting caught lying about there being no civilian casualties from drones in the past.

And from a guy who knows well that Brennan’s drone targeting speech fails to explain signature strikes (which Brennan approved in Yemen).

Sadly, Shane didn’t note those past lies.

Then there’s this claim.

He has spoken out repeatedly about the need for strong oversight and review of counterterrorism actions.

It would be useful for Shane to note that Brennan’s plans to establish rules for drones faltered after Mitt Romney lost the election. It would also be useful to note that his idea of “strong oversight” consists of him–John Brennan–centralizing all decision making under himself, then operating within the oversight free National Security Council. All at the same time the Administration refuses to exercise real transparency (and doesn’t even share the “kill list” with the Gang of Four).

That is, it would be nice if Shane had distinguished the myth he has helped to create from the reality.

But it seems the real role of Shane’s article is to point this out.

During Mr. Brennan’s tenure as Mr. Obama’s top adviser on counterterrorism, Al Qaeda’s leadership has been devastated and Mr. Bin Laden been killed.

That, I suppose, is the plan to get Brennan confirmed: paper over the serial lies and instead repeat Osama bin Laden over and over again.

Well done, Scott Shane!

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13 Responses to The Official John Brennan Story

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @Will_Bunch Awe come on man, that was the most informative WH briefing in years.
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emptywheel @TyreJim The best @JasonLeopold can do is get legal fees for @_LightLaw, I think.
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emptywheel Notorious “FOIA Terrorist” Jason Leopold “Saves” FBI Over $300,000 https://t.co/qnJLk3MCWg
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bmaz RT @adamjohnsonNYC: ICYMI bullshit racists are still a thing https://t.co/88GCoN9Fvb
33mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel MSF: "lack of meaningful accountability" in Kunduz attack "unlikely to act as a deterrent against future violations" https://t.co/LA3Hjda9tt
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JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Meh. Those guys are very reclusive. Probably only came out because we are now the driest we've been all spring.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Apparently coral snake fangs are pretty short so they are reluctant to take on large foes with thick skin/fur.
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JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska See this : https://t.co/BepCVGaEnf See my pic and compare to links for scarlet kingsnake and scarlet snake. Def. coral in house.
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JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Yes, but this one was the real deal, yellow between red and black. In the safe ones, red touches black. And heads diff colors.
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JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Yeah, they used up several lives today.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska The cats have brought in a number of harmless corn snakes before. This is the first nasty one.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charlie_savage The way in which they've hidden the 2009 shut-down, though, is equally significant. That was still the same STLW dragnet.
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