John O. Brennan | CIA | MAY 19, 2017
Director, Central Intelligence Agency
John O. Brennan was sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on March 8, 2013. As Director, he manages intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign intelligence services.
Before becoming Director, Mr. Brennan served at the White House for four years as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. During that time, he advised the President on counterterrorism strategy and helped coordinate the US Government’s approach to homeland security, including its policies for responding to terrorism, cyber attacks, natural disasters, and pandemics.
Mr. Brennan began his service in government at the CIA, where he worked from 1980 to 2005. He spent most of his early career in the Agency’s main analytic arm, the Directorate of Analysis, specializing in the Near East and South Asia before directing counterterrorism analysis in the early 1990s. In 1994 and 1995 he was the Agency’s intelligence briefer to President Bill Clinton.
After an assignment as a Chief of Station in the Middle East, Mr. Brennan served from 1999 to 2001 as Chief of Staff to George Tenet, who was then Director of Central Intelligence. Mr. Brennan next worked as Deputy Executive Director of the CIA until 2003, when he began leading a multi-agency effort to establish what would become the National Counterterrorism Center. In 2004, he became the Center’s Interim Director. After retiring from the CIA in 2005, Mr. Brennan worked in the private sector for three years.
Mr. Brennan graduated from Fordham University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. While enrolled at Fordham, he studied abroad at the American University in Cairo in 1975-1976. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin, where in 1980 he earned a master’s degree in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies.
John O. Brennan | WIKIPEDIA | MAY 19, 2017
His term as CIA Director coincided with revelations that the U.S. government conducted massive levels of global surveillance, that the CIA had hacked into the computers of U.S. Senate employees, and the release of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.
Brennan began his CIA career as an analyst, presumably in the Washington D.C. area, and spent 25 years with the agency. At one point in his career, he was a daily intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton. In 1996 he was CIA station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia when the Khobar Towers bombing killed 19 U.S. servicemen. In 1999 he was appointed chief of staff to George Tenet, then-Director of the CIA. Brennan became deputy executive director of the CIA in March 2001. He was director of the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004, an office that sifted through and compiled information for President Bush’s daily top secret intelligence briefings and employed the services of analysts from a dozen U.S. agencies and entities. One of the controversies in his career involves the distribution of intelligence to the Bush White House that helped lead to an “Orange Terror Alert“, over Christmas 2003. The intelligence, which purported to list terror targets, was highly controversial within the CIA and was later discredited.
Brennan then left government service for a few years, becoming Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and the CEO of The Analysis Corporation (TAC). He continued to lead TAC after its acquisition by Global Strategies Group in 2007 and its growth as the Global Intelligence Solutions division of Global’s North American technology business GTEC, before returning to government service with the Obama administration as Homeland Security Advisor on January 20, 2009.
John Brennan Fast Facts | CNN | JAN 21, 2017
Birth date: September 22, 1955
Studied at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, during college. Speaks Arabic. Was considered a shoo-in for the position of CIA director after President Barack Obama’s election in November 2008. Brennan dropped out of the running for the job after being criticized for supporting the enhanced terrorist interrogation techniques in use since September 11, 2001.
1980 – Brennan joins the CIA’s Directorate of Operations as a Career Trainee.
1981 – Joins the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence.
1982-1984– Political officer at the US Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
1984-1989 – Works in the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis in the Directorate of Intelligence.
1990-1992 – In charge of terrorism analysis in the Director of Central Intelligence’s Counterterrorist Center.
1994-1995 – CIA’s daily intelligence briefer at the White House during the administration of President Bill Clinton.
1995-1996 – Executive Assistant to then–CIA Deputy Director George Tenet.
1996-1999 – CIA Chief of Station in Saudi Arabia.
1999-2001– Chief of Staff to then-CIA Director George Tenet.
March 2001-March 2003 – CIA Deputy Executive Director.
March 12, 2003-December 6, 2004– Founding director of the CIA Terrorist Threat Integration Center.
October 2004-August 2005 – Interim Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
November 2005-January 2009– President and CEO of The Analysis Corporation.
2008– Intelligence adviser to then-Sen. Barack Obama during his presidential campaign.
January 20, 2009-present– Assistant to President Barack Obama for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
January 7, 2013– Nominated by President Barack Obama to be director of the CIA.
February 7, 2013 – Testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of his confirmation hearings.
March 7, 2013 – Confirmed by the Senate, 63-44.
March 8, 2013 –Brennan sworn in as CIA director.
March 11, 2014 – Sen. Dianne Feinstein of the Senate Intelligence Committee claims the CIA secretly monitored the computers of congressional staffers while they were conducting an internal review
of the spy agency’s detention program. Feinstein says Brennan told her that the CIA had looked at the computers due to concerns that staffers may have obtained documents they were not authorized to see. Brennan responds that Feinstein’s statement is false. “As far as the allegations of CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth,” Brennan says.
July 31, 2014 – Brennan apologizes to the Senate Intelligence Committee, acknowledging that the CIA did, in fact, look at their computers.
November 20, 2014 – In a letter to CIA staffers, Brennan announces that an internal review is being launched to assess whether the agency should change its organizational structure as it copes with an ever-changing array of national security issues.
December 9, 2014 –The Senate Intelligence Committee releases a summary report that details the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques, which included mock executions of detainees and rectal feeding. The report found these techniques were not effective means of obtaining accurate information.
December 11, 2014 –Brennan defends the CIA’s practices during a news conference, declaring that the CIA obtained useful intelligence from detainees, including info that led to the bin Laden raid.
March 6, 2015 – In a memo to CIA staff, Brennan announces changes to the agency’s structure in response to cybersecurity concerns and an increasingly complex counterterrorism landscape.
January 15, 2017 – Tells Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he doesn’t think President-elect Donald Trump has “a full appreciation of Russian capabilities, Russia’s intentions,” and that Trump’s public displays of contempt for the US intelligence community could undermine national security. His remarks are made after Trump rejects intelligence agencies’ reports of claims that Russia has compromising information on the President-elect.
January 20, 2017 – Leaves office.
Comey Politicized the FBI, Brennan the CIA | NEWSMAX | OCT 13, 2016
FBI Director James Comey’s abject submission to the powers that be likely destroyed the final pillar in traditional America, where we were Americans first, and political partisans second.
Sadly, the FBI’s political whitewash of Hillary Clinton’s apparent crimes illustrates the bureau’s descent into the same politicization of the CIA under John Brennan and Obama.
From its first days, the Obama administration has poisoned the well of American interests in favor of its own political interests. Since Obama unveiled John Brennan as his preferred intelligence expert during the 2008 presidential campaign, non-partisan American interests have been sacrificed for the interests of Politically Correct Progressivism.
Brennan, the first director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) from 2004-2005, was rewarded with the counterterrorism czar throne, Homeland Security Advisor, after being rejected as the Director of the CIA in early 2009. After his appointment, Brennan came to effectively rule the intelligence community from his office in the White House.
The 2009 underwear bomber case provided clear evidence of Brennan’s absolute power over the wider intelligence community, as well as how he politicized it. A Nigerian terrorist, already in Brennan’s databases, boarded a plane bound for Chicago. His underwear was full of bomb material. In U.S. airspace the terrorist attempted to light the bomb. The plot was only foiled because the Nigerian had worn the shorts for two weeks.
Even though Brennan had sold the “connect-the-dots” analytical software to the center after he left government employment in 2005, Obama appointed Brennan-the-czar to lead the investigation into the reasons that NCTC failed to connect the dots in the underwear case. In short, after Brennan conducted an investigation into Brennan’s agency’s use of Brennan’s company’s counterterrorism software, Brennan announced that he would take care of the issues. Pretty sweet work, if you can get it!
As Obama and Brennan’s vision for iron-fisted rule of the intelligence community was further developed, the czar cooperated with a political witch-hunt, led by the attorney general, to punish CIA officers for their roles in harsh interrogation carried out during the Bush administration. Even though Brennan was the Deputy Director of the CIA during the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation, he sat next to Obama as the administration pushed for prosecutions of CIA officers.
Later, when Congress conducted an investigation into the internal machinations at the CIA, the CIA dipped into the congressional investigators’ computers.
Brennan, quietly, and behind the scenes, appeared to be the evil genius behind Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unprecedented meddling, including the destruction of America’s stable partner in counterterrorism in North Africa, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
Comey’s brazen and public refusal to do his Constitutional duty and Brennan’s quiet politicization of the intelligence community are unprecedented in modern history.
The result has been an eight-year purge of the intelligence community — with any political dissenters either banished or silenced. A reign of quiet terror now blankets the IC. Dissent means losing jobs, retirements, and perks. Go-along-to-get-along is now standard operating practice.
Polygraph panic: CIA director fretted his vote for communist | CNN | SEP 15, 2016
(CNN) — At his first polygraph test to enter the CIA, the future director had a secret.
John Brennan on Thursday recalled being asked a standard question for a top security clearance at his early CIA lie detector test: Have you ever worked with or for a group that was dedicated to overthrowing the US? “I froze,” Brennan said during a panel discussion about diversity in the intelligence community at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual conference. “This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate,” Brennan was responding to a question about barriers to recruiting diverse candidates for the intelligence fields, including whether past records of activism could hurt someone applying for a clearance later in life.
The CIA director said the agency’s mission is to protect the values of the Constitution — which include free speech.”We’ve all had indiscretions in our past,” he said, adding neither some drug experimentation nor activism was a non-starter. “I would not be up here if that was disqualifying.” He proceeded to tell the story of his test. “I froze, because I was getting so close to coming into CIA and said, ‘OK, here’s the choice, John. You can deny that, and the machine is probably going to go, you know, wacko, or I can acknowledge it and see what happens,'” Brennan said.
He said he chose to be forthcoming. “I said I was neither Democratic or Republican, but it was my way, as I was going to college, of signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change. I said I’m not a member of the Communist Party, so the polygrapher looked at me and said, ‘OK,’ and when I was finished with the polygraph and I left and said, ‘Well, I’m screwed.'” But he soon got his admission notice to the CIA and was relieved, he said, saying that though the agency still had long strides to make in accepting gay recruits and minorities, even then it recognized the importance of freedom. “So if back in 1980, John Brennan was allowed to say, ‘I voted for the Communist Party with Gus Hall’ … and still got through, rest assured that your rights and your expressions and your freedom of speech as Americans is something that’s not going to be disqualifying of you as you pursue a career in government.”
In Brennan’s Private Sector Stint, a Chinese Connection | IISS ONLINE | FEB 6, 2013
John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to be director of the CIA, like many government employees took a three-year turn through the private sector before rejoining the administration – but it was nothing like the blandly profitable corporate stints of other federal bureaucrats.
When Brennan went to work for a private intelligence contractor called The Analysis Corporation, he entered a murky milieu of transnational private spy firms with taxpayer-fueled profits. And he found himself working for a Ferrari-driving foreign boss who made much of his money on the dangerous streets of Iraq.
In that world, Brennan was forced to deal with a situation he would never have faced in his earlier days at the CIA: Brennan’s corporate parent was looking for lucrative contracts from Chinese state-owned companies at the same time Brennan’s unit worked on sensitive US intelligence issues in Washington.
Brennan wound up as an employee inside a multi-layered company with offices in Baghdad, where it sought sensitive security business from the Iraqi government, suburban Virginia, where it sought sensitive intelligence business from the US government, and Beijing, where it sought sensitive intelligence and security business from the Chinese.
Brennan’s Chinese Connection
CNBC’s Eamon Javers reports CIA nominee John Brennan worked for a corporation that courted both U.S. and China deals.
No one contacted by CNBC for this story suggested Brennan did anything inappropriate during his stint in the private sector. But the choices he made, and the ways Brennan navigated the world he found himself in, say much about Brennan the man, and also about a hidden but extremely profitable industry the US government has allowed to grow up around its intelligence establishment – and around the world.
In 2005, between stints as a high-ranking CIA officer and one of the Obama Administration’s top homeland security and counterterrorism experts, Brennan went to work for the little-known Virginia government contracting firm known as The Analysis Corporation. In a convoluted corporate structure, that company was already owned by another entity, and, in 2007, would be snapped up by yet a third firm. During that time, Brennan became an employee in a subsidiary of a London-based security firm controlled by a holding company based in Luxembourg.
According to a corporate document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Brennan was given a compensation package at The Analysis Corporation worth more than $750,000 in 2008, one of just over three years he spent at the McLean, Va., based company. That’s not an enormous salary by corporate standards, but it would have been a lot more than the top range of the federal government’s senior executive service that guides CIA pay, which tops out at around $200,000 per year.
Often when companies are acquired senior executives receive payments upon change of corporate control, or to reimburse them for equity they hold in the purchased company. The White House and Brennan’s former company both declined to say whether Brennan received any such payments when the company he worked for was sold in 2007.
“In 2009 when he chose to rejoin the government as the President’s top adviser on counter-terrorism he did so out of a sense loyalty to the country, and as a commitment to keep our nation safe,” said Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman. “At that time, the relevant information regarding Brennan’s prior work experience was disclosed and met the president’s commitment to the highest ethics standards.”
A Highly Regarded Firm
The Analysis Corporation was founded in 1990 and quickly grew into an intelligence contracting powerhouse. Brennan joined the firm as president and CEO in late 2005, moving into a bland suburban office park in McLean, VA just down the road from CIA headquarters.
People familiar with the firm say The Analysis Corporation was highly regarded for its abilities to sift through massive computer databases for information. Contracting documents show the firm worked for the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI and others. But specific details of that work are hard to come by. (Related: What Does TAC Do?)
What is clear is that Brennan remained personally close with his former colleagues in the intelligence community at the same time his company was looking for contracts in the intelligence world.
In 2007, Brennan threw a book party at The Analysis Corporation’s McLean, VA headquarters for former CIA Director George Tenet that was attended by more than 600 current and former members of the US intelligence community. A press release touting the event noted that the crowd was so enthusiastic that some party-goers waited in line for as many as four hours for Tenet to personally sign their copies of his book.
“Mr. Tenet wanted this event to be exclusively for intelligence officers, their families, and alumni,” Brennan said in the press release after the party. The company said it purchased a large number of copies of Tenet’s book, selling them for $20 each to attendee and raising over $7,000 for the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, a non-profit that supports children and spouses of CIA officers killed in the line of duty.
It was connections like those – and a long list of US federal government contracts – that made The Analysis Corporation (and its parent corporation called SFA, Inc.) a tempting acquisition target for an aggressive young British entrepreneur and former Royal Marine named Damian Perl.
According to several people who worked there, by 2007, Perl’s company Global Strategies Group was flush with cash from its security business in Iraq, where it worked for the Iraqi and US governments to provide specially trained soldiers and guards to secure Baghdad International Airport, protect dignitaries, move cash inside the country, and guard the Green Zone.
Security work in Iraq became an extremely profitable business as US taxpayers and the nascent Iraqi government poured money into the rebuilding effort. “The margins were outrageous,” said a former employee. The company often hired Gurkhas, Nepalese veterans of the British military, to provide security services in the violence-prone country.
The business has made Damian Perl a wealthy man. Today, several former employees say he owns multiple Ferraris, and has a fondness for fast cars. They say he owns homes in several locations around the world and makes his permanent residence in a Swiss mountain village.
‘Guns, Gates and Gurkhas’
A spokesman for Global Strategies Group, Tim Matthews, declined to respond to a detailed list of questions from CNBC for this article. In an emailed statement, he said, “to the extent that your questions concern security or internal business issues relating to the GLOBAL Group of Companies or any individuals associated with GLOBAL, it is our general practice not to comment on such matters.”
By 2007 Perl, a former employee says, needed a foothold in the United States to expand his contracting business with the US government. Another former employee says Perl soon set his eyes on Brennan’s firm. “The Analysis Corporation was the crown jewel of SFA,” said this former employee. “We bought SFA because of The Analysis Corporation.” Says a third, “the profits on that [Iraq security] business were almost obscenely big, but there were risks associated with that. [Perl] wanted to get out of the ‘Guns, Gates and Gurkhas’ business.”
By the time Global Strategies Group took over Brennan’s firm in 2007, Global had been involved in one sticky situation in Baghdad that attracted the attention of the press.
In 2006, The Washington Post reported that Global was engaged in a long-running dispute with its client, the Iraqi Transportation Ministry, over payment for Global’s security forces protecting Baghdad International Airport. The firm sought payment of overdue fees of about $3 million per month totaling about $25 million, and in the course of the dispute Global twice withdrew its employees and threatened to abandon the project unless it was paid, the Post reported. During a Global work stoppage in September of 2008, U.S. soldiers were deployed to secure the airport, which was a vital link to the outsider world for the war-torn country. “Global had a work stoppage, and it created a cycle of anxieties from the US government to the Iraqis,” said a former company employee.
By 2007, several former employees say Global Strategies Group had opened an office in Beijing in an effort to win security contracts from Chinese state-owned corporations. Setting up shop in Towercrest International Plaza in the foreign embassy-heavy Chaoyang District of Beijing, employees began building relationships with Chinese officials, in the hopes of winning security contracts.
But a former employee said Global Strategies Group was unable to sell sensitive intelligence software to the Chinese or other foreign entities. “We tried to test the ability of The Analysis Corporation to export their technology, but it was covered by military secrecy export restrictions,” the former employee said. “Any attempt to exploit any technology was stopped right away.”
Global’s sales pitch to the Chinese presented Brennan, a veteran CIA officer working on sensitive intelligence matters, with a dilemma. According to one former employee, the eagerness for new business with the Chinese caused tensions between the former US intelligence agents at The Analysis Corporation and their corporate boss in England. “Damian Perl wanted to go global,” the employee said. “And all the people like John Brennan were going: ‘What the hell? We can’t sell this stuff to the Chinese.’”
Asked about Global’s Chinese office by CNBC, an administration official said in an email that it “seems like John Brennan did the right thing at the time – objected to any conflicts.” The official, who asked not to be named, also noted that in 2007, when SFA was acquired by Global, Brennan became a director on the company’s proxy board. “The proxy board was composed of executives from the US-based subsidiary companies and was established to ensure that classified US government information was fire-walled from the UK-based parent corporation,” the official said.
The administration official noted that the initial acquisition of Brennan’s company by Global Strategy Group in 2007 was reviewed and approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a body set up to scrutinize foreign acquisitions of sensitive American firms and prevent those that might transfer valuable technology.
A spokesperson for another successor corporation to The Analysis Corporation– a spin-off entity that is now known as Sotera Defense Solutions – said the firm worked with the Department of Defense’s Defense Security Service to implement a Special Security Agreement to establish a strict set of controls designed to protect U.S. national security interests in a foreign owned company.
“For the duration of our ownership by Global Strategies Group, the U.S. portions of the business … never had any contracts with any foreign entities or governments by itself or through any parent company or partner,” said Lauren Peduzzi, the director of communications for Sotera Defense Solutions. “Throughout our history, Sotera Defense Solutions has been committed to a culture of ethics and integrity in conducting its business as a responsible member of the national security community.”
The idea of working for the Chinese and Americans at the same time may have been unworkable from the start, although Global Strategies Group won at least one security contract with the China National Petroleum Corporation, sources familiar with the company said. “It was all a massive conflict of interest, and it was all a bit weird,” a former employee said. “I believe the Chinese thought we were working for the CIA.” Former employees said the Global Strategies Group office in Beijing was closed several years later. The firm’s website says the company today maintains offices in Tokyo, Singapore and Kabul as well as in the Middle East, Africa and North America.
Brennan himself left the firm the same year – taking a job in the Obama administration in soon after the new president’s election in January of 2009. On Thursday the Senate Intelligence Committee will consider his nomination to be Director of the CIA. If he’s confirmed, Brennan will complete a full turn through the private intelligence revolving door – and he will have oversight over contracts to companies very much like the one he used to work for.
According to documents discovered after Brennan’s email was hacked, he was good friends with a British man named Alan Lovell.