Morning Brief: Brennan and Hagel to round out Obama national security team

From Foreign Policy Mon Jan 7 2013, 14:29:19

Brennan and Hagel to round out Obama national security team

Top News: President Obama is expected to announce Monday that he will nominate Chuck Hagel, the former Democratic senator from Nebraska, as secretary of defense and that he will tap his chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, as the next director of the CIA.

The two key personnel  decisions -- in addition to the earlier nomination of Sen. John Kerry to head the State Department -- round out Obama's second term national security team, but the selection of Hagel is likely to set up a tough confirmation fight in the Senate. After backing down on his preferred candidate for secretary of state, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, after she came under withering criticism for her initial comments on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Obama will now have to take up the kind of battle in the Senate he shunned for his earlier nominee. Hagel has come under attack for his comments on the influence in Washington of the "Jewish lobby," allegations that he has been far too critical of Israel, and votes against some sanctions on Iran.

Obama's decision to install Brennan as the head of the CIA comes after he passed him over for the job in 2009, when human rights groups were able to torpedo his candidacy after arguing that Brennan had supported so-called enhanced interrogation techniques while serving as a high-level CIA official in the Bush administration. Brennan denied the charges but withdrew his nomination and took on a more low-key, if still highly influential, post in the White House. There he has served as ...

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