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
emptywheel RT @zunguzungu: Could the French Revolution Have Been Prevented, Commoners Kept in Their Place, If the Aristocracy Had Drones: A Thinkpiece.
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emptywheel RT @JasonLeopold: Today is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. Good timing cause here's a rpt you should read https://t.co/5WmoImBquz
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emptywheel @onekade Next thing you know you'll be eating brown rice.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @jricole: Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & ... - http://t.co/R0nRJ4HCQh http://t.co/e71HDnb6jT
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bmaz RT @OrinKerr: @bmaz Compare to pre-911 CA4 op w no redactions but no analysis. http://t.co/0DDAnFqZIf @JoshMBlackman
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JimWhiteGNV RT @WilliamsJon: Remarkable @AFP photo: not snow but #IDF evacuation notices warning residents in #Gaza to leave their homes. http://t.co/I
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bmaz RT @actongriscom: A few days ago @wolfblitzer was actually formulating the IDF spokesman's talking point for him, on camera. #Gaza @bmaz @…
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JimWhiteGNV RT @SIGARHQ: US has funded $104 billion for Afghan reconstruction & requested another $5.8 billion for 2015 http://t.co/arPiZa1qM4
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JimWhiteGNV RT @erinmcunningham: UN: fragment analysis says Israel artillery hit Jabaliya school w/at least 3 impacts http://t.co/MII58tGqAh UN informe…
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emptywheel RT @MarthaStewart: Drones are trending.
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bmaz @SpaceCoastLaw @CNN Exactly. The sanitization and promotion of war crimes. It's all so regular!
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bmaz RT @SpaceCoastLaw: @bmaz @CNN One with a lovely & authoritative Brit accent which makes everything seem so proper. Good job, casting!
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