(The above video is John Conyers grilling John Yoo about torture.Just another day in the life of George Bush.)
Brennan wrote in a Nov. 25 letter to Obama that he did not want to be a distraction. His potential appointment as CIA director has raised a firestorm in liberal blogs that associate him with the Bush administration's interrogation, detention and rendition policies.
Brennan, a 25-year CIA veteran, helped establish the National Counterterrorism Center and was its first director in 2004. He has privately and publicly said that he opposed waterboarding and questioned other interrogation methods that many in the CIA feared could be later deemed illegal.
"It has been immaterial to the critics that I have been a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration such as the pre-emptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding," he wrote. "It is with profound regret that I respectfully ask that my name be withdrawn from consideration for a position within the intelligence community. The challenges ahead of our nation are too daunting, and the role of the CIA too critical, for there to be any distraction from the vital work that lays ahead," Brennan wrote.
As Digby says:
Torture is not negotiable and it can't be redefined or "smoothed out" or anything else. This one is a bright line. I give Obama the benefit of the doubt at this point, of course --- nothing's been announced. But I'm nervous. The institutional pressure is going to be acute and I'm not reassured by the presence of people like John Brennan. The fact that he isn't as bad as Dick Cheney just isn't good enough.
John Woo should be tried an convicted along with any Bush loyalist that sanctioned these practices.
Cassel: If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty...
Cassel: Also no law by Congress -- that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo...
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.
In the same interview, Brennan even defended -- or at least justified -- Michael Mukasey's refusal to say whether waterboarding was "torture," on the ground that by doing so, Mukasey would be admitting that the President broke the law (as though that is a valid reason for a prospective Attorney General to refuse to opine on a legal matter)
Scott Horton has an excellent piece up about it when his name was being mentioned.
John Brennan may find an important role serving in a new administration. But he is morally unfit to serve as the Director of Central Intelligence.
And we all know the role FOX played in the use of torture.