Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Jay Rockefeller today issued the following statement on President Obama nominating John Brennan, Assistant to the President for homeland security and counterterrorism, as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

“John Brennan’s dedication to this country, and his strong understanding of intelligence, counter-terror, and homeland security issues through his 25 years in the CIA and most recently in the National Security Council, provide great potential for his leadership of the CIA at a critical time in its history.

“In the eleven years since 9/11, the men and women of the CIA have undertaken tremendous challenges, with extraordinary successes, such as the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden and the many other operations that have severely weakened Al Qa’ida’s core leadership and organization.  John has played a key role in these counter-terror matters for years and shared credit for these successes.  He knows the counter-terror challenges we face, and I look forward to discussing with him the crucial legal, strategic, and oversight considerations pertaining to the CIA’s counter-terror operations.  It is clear that these programs have dealt significant blows to Al Qa’ida’s ranks and that John has worked hard to improve their transparency and standard protocols, but the next CIA Director will have to take this progress to the next level to guarantee the long-term viability of these operations.

“I also look forward to discussing with him the lessons he has learned from the CIA’s failures and problems in recent years, namely the faulty intelligence that led us to war in Iraq and the CIA’s seriously flawed coercive interrogation program, which remains a stain on the CIA and our country to this day.  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has focused significant attention on these issues for years, and we recently completed a landmark study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program that reveals unacceptable institutional failures within the CIA that demand urgent attention at the highest levels.  The next Director must address these problems forthrightly and with great strength, skill, and care.  The integrity of this great institution and the trust of the American people are at stake.

“Finally, I know that John is well aware that the CIA’s mission goes far beyond counter-terrorism.  The next CIA Director will lead an organization that must provide the President and other policymakers timely and accurate information on crucial national security issues ranging from Iran and counter-proliferation to the strategic implications of China’s rise to the cyber threats that will shape the international security terrain in the coming years, just to name a few.

“John’s knowledge of the CIA, his credibility with the men and women who serve us there in anonymity, and the President’s personal confidence in him provide great potential for John to become the steady leader that the CIA needs at this critical moment.  I have high expectations for John’s leadership and look forward to discussing these important issues with him as I consider his nomination.”

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