Obama’s nominations of Hagel and Brennan signal course adjustments at Pentagon and CIA: Obama’s nominations of former senator Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan as CIA director signal second-term course adjustments at institutions that have been dominated by their lethal assignments during more than a decade of war. Those adjustments could include returning the CIA’s focus to its core mission of gathering intelligence, even though it is expected to maintain its fleet of armed drones for years. (Washington Post)

Charles Dharapak, File/Associated Press

John Brennan CIA nomination reflects shift in human rights advocates’ views on Obama: “When word got out in November 2008 that president-elect Barack Obama was considering CIA veteran John Brennan to head the spy agency, human rights advocates raised a furious howl. After eight years of waterboarding and other brutal “enhanced interrogation” tactics, they said, it wasn’t the time for a president who represented so much hope to nominate a man from George W. Bush’s CIA. A coalition of liberal bloggers and psychologists opposed to torture successfully derailed Brennan. On Monday, a little more than four years after that episode, Obama nominated Brennan to be director of the CIA. The revival of Brennan represents, human rights advocates said, their diminished influence — and Obama’s increasing reliance on aggressive tactics against terrorism, including drones.” (Huffington Post)

John Brennan, Obama’s pick for CIA director, has deep roots at agency: “John Brennan hasn’t always been a bureaucrat, working out of a comfortable office at the White House. An Arabic speaker and Saudi expert, the 57-year-old CIA director-designate has at various points in his career confronted Iranian intelligence officials and Saudi princes, briefed President Bill Clinton, camped out with Bedouins in the Arabian desert and helped create the agency that ultimately became National Counter Terrorism Center. Best known now as President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, Brennan spent most of his career in the CIA.” (NBC 

Room for Debate asks: When John O. Brennan was first considered as director of central intelligence four years ago, he withdrew his name after questions were raised about his role, as chief of staff at the agency, in the creation of a program of harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects during the Bush administration. On Monday, President Obama nominated him for the job. Should his connection to such aggressive techniques and other controversial measures, including the increased use of drone attacks, disqualify him? Or have his many years of service in the C.I.A. and as President Obama’s homeland security adviser proven he is the right person for the job? (New York Times)

Why a debt ceiling debate is good for the country: “Watch what he did, not what he says. President Barack Obama says he won’t agree to spending cuts in return for Republicans’ raising the debt ceiling. Yet he did exactly that in 2011. And he should do it again,” writes AEI’s Ramesh Ponnuru. (Bloomberg)

AEI’s John Bolton: Doing a big favor for Kim Jong Un. (New York Daily News)

Cato’s Gene Healy: “Will Newtown lead to ‘Lockdown High’? (Washington Examiner)

Hoover’s Victor Davis Hanson: The new liberal aristocracy. (National Review)

AEI’s Jim Pethokoukis: What the guy who helped write the trillion dollar platinum coin law told me. (AEI)

Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas: Schoolbus stakes. (New York Post)