November 25th, 2008
The Washington Post called this afternoon and informed me that John Brennan has removed himself from consideration for a top intelligence post in the Obama administration. [See his resignation letter here. Read Glenn Greenwald's reply here.]
The Post and the Associated Press seem to think that our Open Letter against Brennan’s appointment as CIA Director played a role in the decision. The AP cited our letter in its initial announcement:of Brennan’s withdrawal [of course they get psychologists and]:
A group of about 200 psychoanalysts published an open letter to Obama on Nov. 22 opposing Brennan’s leadership of the CIA. They cited several media interviews in which they deemed Brennan insufficiently opposed to rendition and harsh interrogation to make a clean break with the Bush administration’s policies.
They noted that he told the National Journal in March that he would favor “continuity” in intelligence policies in the early days of the Obama administration.
“I would argue for continuity in those early stages. You don’t want to whipsaw the (intelligence) community,” Brennan said. “I’m hoping there will be a number of professionals coming in who have an understanding of the evolution of the capabilities in the community over the past six years, because there is a method to how things have changed and adapted,” he said.
In a 2005 interview on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Brennan defended rendition as “an absolutely vital tool.” In 2007 on CBS News, he said the CIA’s harsh interrogation program, which included waterboarding on at least three prisoners, produced “life saving” intelligence. Waterboarding is a form of simulated drowning.
Of course, we were but a faction of the growing opposition to Brennnan. Scott Horton, Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan were important others, as was former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman. But, still, our efforts played a part in this victory. Our Letter, together with thee efforts of others, shows what a few committed citizens can sometimes accomplish when they stand together and speak out.