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Obama to Nominate Top Advisor John Brennan to Lead CIA

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John Brennan on Holiday Security

John Brennan
Courtesy: CNN


President Barack Obama will nominate John Brennan, his chief counterterrorism adviser, to be the next director of the CIA, a senior administration official said Monday.

Brennan, 57, has served as assistant to the president for counterterrorism and homeland security since 2009.

Obama’s announcement of Brennan’s nomination to the CIA post will occur at 1 p.m. Monday, along with the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, another senior administration official said.

Brennan has shaped the White House’s strategy to aggressively pursue suspected terrorists — dramatically escalating the use of armed unmanned aircraft, often referred to as drones — and to kill them in the ungoverned territories of Pakistan and in Yemen.

He was also intimately involved in the run-up to the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound in May 2011.

If the Senate confirms the nomination, Brennan will replace retired Gen. David Petraeus, who stepped down from his job as CIA director in November amid revelations that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with his biographer.

Michael Morell, a career intelligence officer who was serving as the spy agency’s deputy director, has been acting CIA director since Petraeus’ resignation.

Petraeus resigned on November 9 amid an FBI investigation into whether his biographer, Paula Broadwell, had inappropriate access to classified information.

A list of White House talking points obtained by CNN describes Brennan as a close adviser to the president who has led efforts to target al Qaeda’s leadership.

Brennan also has a deep understanding the CIA, where he worked for decades, the talking points say. “He has no party affiliation, and has worked around the clock to protect our country.”

Returning to the Central Intelligence Agency would be a homecoming of sorts for Brennan, who spent 25 years there distinguishing himself as a Mideast and terrorism expert.

CNN’s John Berman, Pam Benson and Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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