President Obama tapped his top counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan to be the Director of the CIA Monday. If confirmed, it’s unclear if Brennan would alter the CIA’s policies and to what degree, especially regarding terrorism. The Washington Post reports that Brennan has reservations about the CIA’s drone program, and promotes shifting the job of targeted killings to the military.
Former State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley told NOW with Alex Wagner that a byproduct of the targeted killings is radicalization, saying “drones are having a significant and deleterious impact on public opinion, which is closely connected to why people choose to blow themselves up in the pursuit of violent extremism.” Crowley added that, “John Brennan will bring that perspective to the agency, if confirmed.”
One of the most surprising legacies of the president’s first term is how little the terror policies of the previous administration have been removed or scaled back. The drone program is just one of several controversial policies that began under President George W. Bush and that President Obama has continued or expanded. Just last week, the president signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes provisions that help keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open, allowing for the indefinite detention of inmates. The process of rendition has continued, with one case surfacing as recently as last month. Suspected terrorists are still tried in military tribunals, including the tribunal for the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed which is ongoing at Guantanamo Bay right now. And since the president took office, warrantless wiretapping and email surveillance has spiked.
One Bush Administration policy that President Obama has not tolerated is enhanced interrogation, a tactic which he ended with an executive order upon entering the Oval Office. In his second term, will there be a reversal on some of these other policies which have drawn criticism from civil liberties groups? Or, to use a favorite phrase of former President George W. Bush, will President Obama “stay the course”?
Check out the video above to see more of Alex’s discussion with P.J. Crowley and her panel on the White House’s secret drone program and other terror policies.