Redacted from a terrifying analysis by Steven Emerson and John Rossomando
Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) News
February 5, 2013
America’s top spy needs to be a steely eyed realist, sensitive to emerging threats and keen about our foes’ intent to deceive us.
Unfortunately, President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan, has shown a tendency to fall for the bait from radical Islamists. Globally, he repeatedly expressed a hope that, ‘moderates’ within Iran and its terror proxy Hizballah would steer their respective constituencies away from terrorism.
Domestically, he claims that radical Islam does not pose its own, unique threat to American security. He has helped strip language about “radical Islam,” “jihad” and similar terms from government vernacular, choosing instead to refer to “violent extremism” in an attempt to deny terrorists religious credibility. When it comes to jihad, he stubbornly maintains the word does not belong in conversations about terror, no matter what terrorists themselves say.
Likewise, he also yielded to demands from American Islamists to purge law enforcement and intelligence training material of the terms “jihad” and “radical Islam.”
Despite these positions, some American Islamists still oppose Brennan’s nomination because he is considered the architect of the drone program which has killed scores of al-Qaida terrorists.
That should tell him something. But there is little in Brennan’s record to indicate he’ll learn from the experience.
Brennan Promotes Iran-Hizballah Outreach
Brennan’s complacency regarding the jihad threat was made clear in May 2010, when he expressed a desire to encourage “moderate elements” of Hizballah, which is a State Department-designated terrorist organization.
“There is certainly the elements of Hizballah that are truly a concern to us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements,” a Reuters report quoted Brennan saying.
He did not explain where such elements could be found, how they could be identified, or what separated them from the Hizballah “extremists.”
That was just the latest in a series of similar statements Brennan has made about Hizballah, the group which ranks second only to al-Qaida in killing Americans in terrorist attacks. The Iranian-founded and funded group “started out as purely a terrorist organization back in the early ’80s and has evolved significantly over time,” Brennan said in an Aug. 6, 2009 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “And now it has members of parliament, in the cabinet; there are lawyers, doctors, others who are part of the Hezbollah organization.
“However, within Hezbollah, there’s still a terrorist core. And hopefully those elements within the Shia community in Lebanon and within Hezbollah at large — they’re going to continue to look at that extremist terrorist core as being something that is anathema to what, in fact, they’re trying to accomplish in terms of their aspirations about being part of the political process in Lebanon. And so, quite frankly, I’m pleased to see that a lot of Hezbollah individuals are in fact renouncing that type of terrorism and violence and are trying to participate in the political process in a very legitimate fashion.”
In a paper published a year earlier, Brennan called on U.S. officials to “cease public Iran-bashing,” and recommended that the U.S. “tolerate, and even … encourage, greater assimilation of Hizballah into Lebanon’s political system, a process that is subject to Iranian influence.”
In “The Conundrum of Iran: Strengthening Moderates without Acquiescing to Belligerence,” published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in July 2008, Brennan claimed that Hizballah’s participation in Lebanese politics was evidence that it was leaving behind its terrorist roots:
“This political involvement is a far cry from Hizballah’s genesis as solely a terrorist organization dedicated to murder, kidnapping, and violence. Not coincidentally, the evolution of Hizballah into a fully vested player in the Lebanese political system has been accompanied by a marked reduction in terrorist attacks carried out by the organization.
The best hope for maintaining this trend and for reducing the influence of violent extremists within the organization – as well as the influence of extremist Iranian officials who view Hizballah primarily as a pawn of Tehran – is to increase Hizballah’s stake in Lebanon’s struggling democratic processes.”
The record since then could not be further from Brennan’s idealistic hopes. Four Hizballah members have been indicted by an international tribunal in connection with the 2005 car-bomb assassination of Lebanon’s President Rafiq Hariri. Hizballah has helped Iran send fighters and advisers into Syria to try to aid dictator Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless assault on his own people. A new report finds Hizballah, working with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is responsible for a wave of terrorist plots throughout the world. Any move away from violence may have been a strategic lull aimed at avoiding being “caught in the crosshairs of Washington’s ‘war on terror.'”
That lull appears to be over, the report finds.
Brennan’s analysis also was refuted by a senior Hizballah leader. Engaging in Lebanese parliamentary politics does not make Hizballah moderate and Hizballah politicians are still part of the mother ship.
“The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions,” Naim Qassem, a deputy to Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, told the Los Angeles Times.
The retired Israeli Brigadier General Shimon Shapira observed: “Hizbullah’s own analysis of itself contradicts what Brennan has been writing and stating in recent years.
“Today, saying that Hizbullah has moderate elements that have moved away from terrorism can lead the political echelons in the West to ignore how Hizbullah is serving its Iranian sponsors by directly threatening Israel’s civilian population. On May 20, 2010, Hizbullah military sources boasted to the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai that Israel will be bombarded with 15 tons of explosives a day if a future war breaks out. Hizbullah clearly does not care about the implications of its military build-up for the people of Lebanon, because it only seeks to serve the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
In his 2008 paper, Brennan also advocated direct engagement with Iran despite its well-earned reputation as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. He minimized the threat of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and blamed American rhetoric as “brash labeling” for hardening Tehran’s position toward the United States. Brennan’s recommendations assumed Iranian interest in backing away from terrorism and a nuclear bomb.
Brennan’s abysmal record goes on and on for over 4000 words in the devastating analysis just posted by Steven Emerson and John Rossomando. If your stomach and mind can handle it go to:
(But, the conclusion is irrefutable, President Obama could not have picked a worse man, not unlike Chuck Hagel, to protect the vital interests of the United States of America. Any Senator that votes for this guy’s confirmation should truly have his cerebral faculties evaluated. I am sorry to say.) jsk
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