Brad Johnson, a retired 25-year veteran officer of the CIA, laments that in recent years he has seen our nation’s Intelligence Community “turn away from its core responsibilities” – i.e., promoting “the safety and security of all Americans” – and embrace “a far more political agenda.” He notes, for example, that the Intelligence Community’s 2017 quadrennial report about global trends “overwhelmingly” supports “global government integration” and the “globalist movement,” which he describes as “a hardcore leftist philosophy that is deeply political” and antithetical to the concept of national sovereignty.
A particularly odious manifestation of this new globalist philosophy, says Johnson, was former CIA Director John Brennan’s so-called “modernization” plan, which “systematically dismantled and destroyed the CIA’s operations division — the heart of the agency’s central mission of using people to steal vital secrets around the world.” Brennan himself articulated this new mindset when he flatly told National Public Radio in an interview: “We don’t steal secrets.” “The Brennan plan,” says Johnson, “instead called for other nations’ intelligence services to provide the CIA with spies as intelligence collectors.” This approach made it impossible for the U.S. to keep its intelligence-gathering operations clandestine, thereby forfeiting the type of secrecy that is “fundamental to the credibility and reliability of the information” collected.
In light of the recent highly disturbing revelations about Obamagate, and in light of the damage that John Brennan in particular has done to America’s intelligence-gathering capacity and, by extension, to its national security, a closer look at the former CIA Director’s long track record of deceit, lies, and bad judgment is most certainly in order.
When Brennan was just 21 years old and attending Fordham University in New York, he voted for Communist Party USA (CPUSA) presidential nominee Gus Hall in the 1976 U.S. presidential election. As historian Ron Radosh points out, “The CPUSA at that time was dedicated to gaining support for Soviet foreign policy, with the intent of defeating the United States in the Cold War…. Moscow regularly gave Hall thousands of dollars to enable the Communists in America to carry on their work.”
In 1980 Brennan earned an M.A. in government from the University of Texas. In his graduate thesis, he denied the existence of “absolute human rights” and argued that “since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses,” he was “in favor of some degree of government censorship.”
Also in 1980, Brennan joined the CIA as an intelligence director, and in the ’90s he served a stint as a daily intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton. In 1998 he played a key role in preventing an American operation that would have killed or captured Osama bin Laden, and instead he advised the U.S. to let Saudi Arabia deal with the al Qaeda leader. A few months later, bin Laden masterminded the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa; three years after that, he carried out the 9/11 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
In a 2006 interview on C-SPAN, Brennan spoke of the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah as an entity that merited a seat at the negotiating table along with the representatives of national governments from across the globe: “It would be nice to be able to put Hezbollah in a category of being totally evil, but Hezbollah as an organization is a very complex one that has a terrorist arm to it. It has a social and political nature to it as well.”
In a paper he published in July 2008, Brennan stated that he saw the recent increase of political involvement by Hezbollah as a very positive development: “Not coincidentally, the evolution of Hezbollah into a fully vested player in the Lebanese political system has been accompanied by a marked reduction in terrorist attacks carried out by the organization. The best hope for maintaining this trend and for reducing the influence of violent extremists within the organization … is to increase Hezbollah’s stake in Lebanon’s struggling democratic processes.”
In August 2009, Brennan said he was “pleased to see that a lot of Hezbollah individuals are in fact renouncing … terrorism and violence and are trying to participate in the political process in a very legitimate fashion.” “Hamas,” he added, had “started out as a very focused social organization that was providing welfare to Palestinians,” but eventually “developed an extremist and terrorist element” that “unfortunately delegitimized it in the eyes of many” and diminished the chances of the Palestinian people getting “what they truly deserve, which is a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel.”
When news of the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping initiative made headlines in late 2005, Brennan defended the practice and maintained that the telecommunication companies participating in the program “should be granted … immunity, because they were told to [participate] by the appropriate authorities that were operating in a legal context.” Brennan also supported “enhanced interrogation” techniques, and he described “extraordinary rendition” as “an absolutely vital tool” that “without a doubt has been very successful as far as producing intelligence that has saved lives.” In a 2007 interview with CBS News, Brennan stated that waterboarding in particular was a highly useful practice that “ has saved lives.”
But Brennan subsequently departed from all of those positions when he served as a senior advisor to Barack Obama‘s 2008 presidential campaign. In a letter to Obama, for example, Brennan called himself “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.” In August 2009, Brennan said that tactics like waterboarding were not only inconsistent with “our ideals as a nation,” but also “undermine our national security” because they “are a recruitment bonanza for terrorists, increase the determination of our enemies, and decrease the willingness of other nations to cooperate with us.”
In 2009 as well, Brennan detailed for the first time the Obama administration’s decision to dispense with the term “global war on terror.” Emphasizing the need to target “extremists” rather than “jihadists,” Brennan explained that “jihad” means “to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal.” The use of that term, he elaborated, “risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve. Worse, it risks reinforcing the idea that the United States is somehow at war with Islam itself.”
On Christmas Day 2009, Nigerian al Qaeda operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted, unsuccessfully, to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight (from Amsterdam to Detroit) in midair with a powerful chemical bomb. In the aftermath of the incident, Brennan explained that the Obama administration would treat it as a law-enforcement matter rather than as an act of war or terrorism; that the perpetrator would be offered a plea agreement in exchange for information about al Qaeda operations in Yemen; and that if such an agreement could not be worked out, Abdulmutallab would be tried in a federal civilian court rather than in a military tribunal.
Brennan sought to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a civilian court as well, stating, in a February 2010 speech to Islamic law students at New York University, that “we need to bring him to justice in an American court”—a goal the Obama administration eventually abandoned, due to the plan’s unpopularity with the U.S. public.
On March 17, 2011, forty-two Pakistanis — mostly civilians — were killed in a major CIA drone strike on the town of Datta Khel in North Waziristan. The incident was widely reported by the media and was angrily denounced by Pakistan’s government. An anonymous U.S. official later justified the attack as one that had targeted “a large group of heavily armed men, some of whom were clearly connected to Al Qaeda [AQ] and all of whom acted in a manner consistent with AQ-linked militants.” But in fact, the gathering was eventually confirmed to have been a jirga, or tribal meeting, convened to address a local mining-related dispute. The dead included dozens of tribal elders and local policemen, as well as a small number of Taliban.
But three months later, in a June 29 speech, Brennan claimed that the March 17 drone attack had not resulted in even “a single collateral death.” In fact, he went even further: “I can say that the types of operations… that the U.S. has been involved in, in the counter-terrorism realm, that nearly for the past year there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”
Brennan’s claim was untrue, however, as noted in a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ): “The Datta Khel attack was not the only time that civilians had died in the period referred to by Brennan. Working with veteran Pakistani reporter Rahimullah Yusufzai and field researchers in the tribal areas, the Bureau identified and published details of 45 civilians known at the time to have been killed by CIA drones in ten strikes between August 2010 and June 2011, the date of Brennan’s speech. Many of those killed had died at Datta Khel.”
On October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera, president and executive director of the organization Muslim Advocates, sent Brennan a letter charging that the FBI was a bigoted agency which kept “antiquated and offensive documents about Muslims and Islam” on its intranet, and that some of the Bureau’s new recruits were being taught “that Islam is a religion that ‘transforms a country’s culture into 7th-century Arabian ways.’” Within two weeks, Brennan capitulated to Khera’s demand that America’s intelligence agencies eliminate their “offensive” curriculum/training materials; i.e., he called for a purge of any and all materials that made reference to “jihad” or “radical Islam.”
Speaking in June 2011 about how the Obama administration would deal with terrorism following the recent death of Osama bin Laden, Brennan dismissed any notion that Islamic terrorists might attempt to build a caliphate in the Middle East. “Our strategy is shaped by a deeper understanding of al-Qaeda’s goals, strategy and tactics that we have gained over the last decade,” said Brennan. “I’m not talking about al-Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counter-terrorist polices against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen…. We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they really are.”
Events over the ensuing three years, however, would prove Brennan wrong. On June 29, 2014, ISIS announced the existence of what it called a new Islamic caliphate that would thenceforth go by the name “Islamic State” and would recognize no existing national borders. By November 2014, the organization controlled some 100,000 square kilometers of territory in the Middle East.
In September 2012, Brennan was involved in crafting the false talking points that then-Secretary of State Susan Rice delivered during five separate television interviews regarding the 9/11/12 terrorist attack against a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Specifically, Rice claimed that according to the “best information at present,” the deadly attack was not premeditated, but rather, was a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive [anti-Islamic] video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.”
In March 2014, Senator Dianne Feinstein—the head of a Senate Intelligence Committee that was involved in a multi-year probe of the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation measures against suspected terrorists during the Bush Administration—went to the Senate floor and angrily accused the Agency of having hacked into the computers of her Committee staffers. In response, Brennan expressed dismay that “some members of the Senate” were making “spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts.” Moreover, he told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the, you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we do.” Brennan likewise told the media that “a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.”
But according to the findings of a CIA inspector general’s report that was released on July 31, 2014, it was actually Brennan who was proved wrong. The report indicated that five CIA employees—two attorneys and three computer specialists—indeed had surreptitiously and unlawfully searched files and emails on the computers of the aforementioned Senate investigators. In response to the report, Brennan apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders.
In a March 2015 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Brennan refused to refer to the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group as an “Islamic” entity. “By ascribing [sic] it as a Muslim terrorism or Islamic extremism,” he said, “I think it does really give them the type of Islamic legitimacy that they are so desperately seeking, but which they don’t deserve at all.”
In May 2017, Brennan lied to Congress when he testified that: (a) he did not know who had commissioned the infamous Steele dossier which contained many false accusations against Donald Trump and his political allies, and (b) the CIA had not relied on the dossier’s contents for any action that the Agency took.
In July 2018, Brennan was outraged by President Donald Trump’s remarks at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. At that event, Trump expressed doubt about a U.S. Intelligence Community assessment claiming that Russian operatives had interfered in America’s 2016 presidential election, and he suggested that he had at least as much faith in the Russian KGB as he had in the American CIA. Later that day, Brennan described Trump’s comments as “nothing short of treasonous.”
In August 2018, President Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance, explaining that Brennan’s “lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary” was “wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos.” In response, Brennan told NBC’s Meet the Press that Trump’s move was “treasonous.”
In a February 2020 interview on MSNBC, Brennan said that President Trump’s staunchest supporters are a “very debased group of people.”
In light of John Brennan’s long history of undermining America’s national security by downplaying the extent of the threat posed by our nation’s most committed enemies, it is no wonder that he detests President Trump. In virtually every way possible, Trump is the anti-Brennan.