John Brennan, President-elect Barack Obama's top adviser on intelligence, took his name out of the running Tuesday for any intelligence position in the new administration.
Brennan wrote in a Nov. 25 letter to Obama that he did not want to be a distraction. His potential appointment as CIA director has raised a firestorm in liberal blogs that associate him with the Bush administration's interrogation, detention and rendition policies.
Brennan, a 25-year CIA veteran, helped establish the National Counterterrorism Center and was its first director in 2004. He has privately and publicly said that he opposed waterboarding and questioned other interrogation methods that many in the CIA feared could be later deemed illegal.
"It has been immaterial to the critics that I have been 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," he wrote. "It is with profound regret that I respectfully ask that my name be withdrawn from consideration for a position within the intelligence community. The challenges ahead of our nation are too daunting, and the role of the CIA too critical, for there to be any distraction from the vital work that lays ahead," Brennan wrote.
As Greenwald documents, Brennan's denials are largely, ahem, "disingenuous." But forget for the happy news that this member of the Beltway pro-torture establishment will have little or nothing to do with intelligence under the Obama administration, and concentrate on what's really important: telling Big Tent Democrat and James Kirchick to go suck it.