Issues with the CIA, administration

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Russ Jones (

As John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to head the CIA, is expected to answer questions on U.S. drone strike policies during his confirmation hearing Thursday, an intelligence expert suggests what the nominee means for the war on terror.

Zenko, Micah (CFR)Obama's top counterterrorism advisor is known to have supported wiretapping, drone strikes, and torture to fight terrorism. So, Micah Zenko, fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), says questions remain about whether Brennan's move to the White House means the CIA will get out of the drones business.

"Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta this weekend said … John Brennan says … that the CIA should not be doing these operations; only the Pentagon should do them," Zenko reports. "Because if only the Pentagon does them, they could be more transparent, the Congress can have more oversight, and we can have a better understanding of what the United States is doing going around the world and using lethal force."

Some say the nomination reflects Obama's dependence on drones to fight al-Qaeda and its allies rather than using traditional military forces. Zenko says U.S. government estimates reveal al-Qaeda operatives have more than tripled in size the drone campaign increased in 2009.

"These strikes are very poorly coordinated with other U.S. foreign policy objectives," the CFR fellow notes. "So, there [are] a number of issues that should cause pause and should require the administration to provide more transparency, should make Congress care, and we should have a better understanding of what they're actually doing, because, in fact, we don't know other than the administration's assertion."

If confirmed as the new director of the CIA, Brennan would replace General David Petraeus, who resigned amid allegations of an extramarital affair.

Critics want more transparency from the Obama administration.

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