Saturday, 7 January 2017

CIA Director John Brennan and Lockerbie

[What follows is an item originally posted on this blog on this date in 2013:]

John Brennan to be nominated as new CIA director

[A report published today on the BBC News website contains the following:]

US President Barack Obama is to nominate John Brennan as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, White House officials have said.

If confirmed, Mr Brennan will replace Gen David Petraeus, who resigned last year after admitting to an affair. (...)

Mr Brennan, a CIA veteran, is currently Mr Obama's chief counter-terrorism adviser. He was heavily involved in the planning of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Although put forward for the role in 2008, Mr Brennan withdrew his name amid questions about his connection to interrogation techniques used during the administration of George W Bush.

"Brennan has the full trust and confidence of the president," a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP news agency.

"Over the past four years, he has been involved in virtually all major national security issues and will be able to hit the ground running at CIA."

[Mr Brennan has on occasion commented on Lockerbie during his CIA career.  Here are a few of his interventions:]

‘President Obama's top counterterrorism aide denounced Scotland's decision last year to release the Lockerbie bomber as a "travesty" and categorically denied a widespread report that the United States secretly endorsed the decision to free the Libyan terrorist, who was sentenced to life in prison. (...)

John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, this week wrote Frank Duggan, president of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, in response to a major British newspaper's report Sunday that the Obama administration "secretly" agreed to al-Megrahi's release. (...)’

‘The White House has told Scottish Ministers that they should return the Lockerbie bomber to jail in Scotland, amid fresh calls for a full public inquiry into his conviction and subsequent release.

John Brennan, counter-terrorism adviser to President Barack Obama, said Washington had expressed "strong conviction" to officials in Edinburgh over what he described as the "unfortunate and inappropriate and wrong decision" to free Abdelbaset Al Megrahi. (...)’

‘John Brennan, President Obama's counter-terrorism adviser, stated that the United States has "expressed our strong conviction" to Scottish officials that Megrahi should not remain free. Brennan criticized what he termed the "unfortunate and inappropriate and wrong decision" to allow Megrahi's return to Libya on compassionate grounds on Aug 20, 2009 because he had cancer and was not expected to live more than about three months.’

[Addendum from The Guardian of Tuesday, 8 January:]

The appointment of Brennan to replace disgraced general David Petraeus as head of the CIA has also been criticised because of Brennan's involvement with the Bush administration's backing for harsh interrogation techniques that many have described as torture, although Brennan denies he supported their use. (...)

The nomination of Brennan, while less controversial, has also come in for criticism from liberal Democrats unhappy at his previous record at the CIA.

Brennan had been a candidate to lead the agency in Obama's first term but withdrew his name from consideration. In doing so, Brennan told Obama that he was "a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration, such as the pre-emptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding".

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