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In the News The John Brennan Hubbub

November 26, 2008

“There was a real debate within the agency, including today, about what are the minimum standards that you want to stoop to...”
John Brennan, Former deputy CIA director, March 8, 2006

So here's that section of FRONTLINE's extended 2006 interview with the former deputy director of the CIA, as well as the context in which John Brennan made the statement that has so offended the blogosphere, as well as a group of 200 psychologists.

In an open letter to President-elect Barack Obama, the psychologists complain: "According to his own statements, Mr. Brennan was a supporter of the 'dark side' policies, wishing only to have some legal justification supplied in order to protect CIA operatives." Their letter goes on to cite Brennan's March 8, 2006 interview for FRONTLINE's 2006 film, The Dark Side.

Brennan vigorously disputes his critics in the letter he wrote Obama withdrawing his name from consideration. He accuses them of distorting his record: "It has been immaterial to the critics that I have been a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush Administration, such as the preemptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding. The fact that I was not involved in the decisionmaking process for any of these controversial policies and actions has been ignored. Indeed, my criticism of these policies within government circles was the reason why I was twice considered for more senior-level positions in the current Administration, only to be rebuffed by the White House."

According to the Associated Press, Obama's advisers were becoming "increasingly concerned" over the blogosphere's reaction to Brennan's defense of post-9/11 CIA interrogation policies.

Addendum: Read Brennan's extended FRONTLINE interview here and/or watch in full FRONTLINE's 2006 account of the internal war between Vice President Cheney and the intelligence community over post-9/11 intelligence policy.

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