Thoughts on former CIA Director John Brennan

Thoughts on former CIA Director John Brennan 
 by Susan Basko, esq.

In early January, 2017, CIA Director John Brennan, spoke at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.  We were invited to come see him a few months earlier, but he had to cancel out at the last minute.  Finally, he was able to make his eagerly-awaited appearance, and so much had changed since the first invitation was sent out in October of 2016.   In the meantime, the expected easy win of Hillary Clinton for President did not happen. Instead, Donald Trump had been elected. Trump's inexperience and caustic rhetoric were causing uneasiness in the nation.  Thus, the entire context of the earlier anticipated Brennan talk, looking forward to his CIA Directorship under Hillary Clinton, shifted to one of memoirs of the past, with foreboding of a highly uncertain future for our nation.

The invitation to the John Brennan event noted there would be security procedures in place and "no signs" allowed. As it turned out, the audience was sedate and respectful and the questions asked by audience members were intelligent and on point.  

Overall, I was impressed by how intelligent, personable, and forthright Director Brennan was.  Please watch the video and see what you think.  Several times in the talk, he mentioned that he had "15 days left" as CIA Director.  This came about because he publicly stated that if President Elect Donald Trump planned to reinstate waterboarding torture as a CIA practice, as Trump had publicly stated, that the soon-to-be President would have to find himself a new CIA Director.  Donald Trump beat Brennan to the punch and appointed Rep. Mike Pompeo to be Director of the CIA.  However, in appearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Pompeo said he also would refuse to bring back waterboarding as an interrogation tactic.  Donald Trump never explained why he would want to bring back torture as an interrogation technique in violation of international law.

In the days following this talk, John Brennan became outspoken in his public objections to Donald Trump's relations with the Russian government and to Trump's provocative, reckless manner of speaking about topics of great importance to national security.

My overall thoughts about John Brennan, which I admit came as a bit of a surprise, are that he seems highly intelligent, forthright, very experienced in government and international relations, and a really decent person.  If he decided to run for some public office in the future, he seems to have the makings of a good candidate. Please, watch the video and see what you think.

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