How John Brennan transformed counterterrorism policy

John Brennan, is nominated as director of the CIA. (Nikki Kahn/Washington Post)
John Brennan, is nominated as director of the CIA. (Nikki Kahn/Washington Post)

President Obama on Monday nominated counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Karen DeYoung profiled Brennan last fall as part of a series on evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies and the practice of targeted killing:   

A burly 25-year CIA veteran with a stern public demeanor, Brennan is the principal architect of a policy that has transformed counterterrorism from a conventional fight centered in Afghanistan to a high-tech global effort to track down and eliminate perceived enemies one by one.

What was once a disparate collection of tactics — drone strikes by the CIA and the military, overhead surveillance, deployment of small Special Forces ground units at far-flung bases, and distribution of military and economic aid to threatened governments — has become a White House-centered strategy with Brennan at its core.

Critics say Brennan's approach lacks transparency and that he fails to delegate; others emphasize his moral compass. Read the whole story.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Rachel Weiner · January 7, 2013