I wrote my Corner posting on John Brennan, Richard Clarke, et al. and the Obama’s Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde attitude about criticizing government anti-terrorism protocols before Brennan’s surreal op-ed in today’s USA Today. If one were to take his highly partisan August 6 speech lambasting the Bush war on terror (replete with a rambling, obsequious paean to his new boss) with his present attack on those he thinks are too partisan in their criticism of this president, one could only conclude that Brennan has gone beyond hypocrisy and is seriously confused — and probably has no business serving as the country’s top anti-terrorism adviser.
Here’s Brennan in August 2009: “The fight against terrorists and violent extremists has been returned to its right and proper place: no longer defining — indeed, distorting — our entire national security and foreign policy, but rather serving as a vital part of those larger policies.” And here’s Brennan in February 2010: “Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”
I think characterizing seven years of successful anti-terrorism policy as “distorting . . . our entire national security and foreign policy” qualifies as “politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering.” It is time for Brennan to gracefully bow out and let federal counterterrorism be conducted by people who don’t alternately and mercurially damn and praise presidents for careerist and partisan purposes or suggest that legitimate worries about Mirandizing the Christmas Day bomber and trying in civilian court the architect of 9/11 a few thousand yards from the scene of his mass-murdering somehow “serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”
The brighter minds in the Obama administration will soon grasp that whatever transient gratification the attack-dog Brennan brings them in the debate over civilian/military trials is far outweighed by the damage he does to the necessary sense of nonpartisan vigilance (which he more or less cast off in his very first speech on the job).