John Brennan: “Gone Native,” or Always Already Native?

In a piece laying out how, rather than shift drone strikes to DOD (as much of the press credulously claimed John Brennan planned to do while he was still in the White House), the Executive will instead merge CIA and DOD operations more closely, Greg Miller includes this line.

One senior administration official said Brennan had “gone native” since moving into the director’s office on the CIA’s seventh floor.

Gone native! “The horror! The horror!”

To rebut that claim, some anonymous sources close to Mr. Kurt — um, I mean Mr. Brennan — suggest Brennan never intended to hand over all of the drone program to DOD.

U.S. officials close to Brennan disputed that characterization, saying he remains committed to the White House goal. But they acknowledged that there is still no timetable for reaching it, and that Brennan never envisioned a complete CIA withdrawal from the drone program.

When Brennan speaks of “traditional” military activities, he “is referring to the military conducting lethal ‘finishing’ operations, i.e. ‘dropping ordnance,’ ” the intelligence official said, meaning the agency would remain involved in tracking terrorist groups and identifying targets even if it ultimately surrenders its authority to execute strikes.

And in fact, those anonymous sources are correct, as anyone who actually read closely what Brennan said in his confirmation testimony would know. While a bunch of credulous reporters parroted what was surely the impression Brennan chose to create at the time — that he intended to take CIA out of the drone and paramilitary business — he always distinguished what he considered CIA’s well-established (think OSS) paramilitary role from “traditional military activities.”

And now we’re learning that by the latter — TMA — Mr. Kurtz only meant pressing the button.

What a surprise. To the DC press corps, but not to Emptywheel readers.

You see, the evidence suggests Brennan was always “native,” the entire time he was in the White House. Perhaps the Senior Administration Officials only now discovering he “went native” decades ago might reconsider the policies he convinced them to believe were their own?

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5 Responses to John Brennan: “Gone Native,” or Always Already Native?

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Was the police response to Boston bombing really appropriate? http://t.co/uWcY77L9Wi Answer is no; great work by @radleybalko @WPTheWatch
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bmaz @GregoryMcNeal No. And it was pretty obvious from the start.
16mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz I see all the good news+discussion on pardons today and can't help but think what profound+great impact @DafnaLinzer + @ProPublica crew had.
27mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @JameelJaffer: Excellent piece by @rgoodlaw & @SarahKnuckey about @nytimes' reporting on drone strikes in Yemen. http://t.co/08yMJVr3fG
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bmaz @FalguniSheth @gideonstrumpet Fair point. I think my county is bigger than 8 states, all up there except Hawaii.
47mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gideonstrumpet @FalguniSheth Don't know about Falguni's schedule, but @emptywheel is going to be around a bit, you should hook up.
49mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gideonstrumpet @FalguniSheth Right. But that is not exactly CT....
51mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gideonstrumpet @FalguniSheth Wait, you are traveling?
53mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @FalguniSheth @gideonstrumpet No, like me Gid is really a recluse.
53mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz This----> RT @DLind This morning's DOJ announcement is a BFD. And we are on hand to explain why it matters. http://t.co/zahKzX0jLK
55mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @FalguniSheth @emptywheel You girls keep the lawyer near you. Never know when the professional pricks might be handy.
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