It appeared as though Obama did have a choice for CIA chief, but he was torpedoed by the left wing blogs.
And one of the central reasons he hasn't come forward with a pick for one of the top jobs is because he's running into pressure from an unexpected source -- left-wing bloggers.
John Brennan, Obama's chief intelligence adviser and anticipated CIA chief, was recently forced to withdraw his name. There was no drumbeat of opposition to Brennan from the front pages or on cable. Rather, the pick was torpedoed by the blogosphere.
"Apparently there is a lot of pressure on the Obama team from a blog saying that Brennan couldn't be made the director of the CIA because he was involved in torture and renditions, which he wasn't," said Mark Lowenthal, former assistant CIA director.
The turn of events only emphasizes the influence of the Internet on the operation of a president-elect whose campaign was powered in large part by the Web.
Obama is so determined to run away from what he sees as far too aggressive GWOT measures by the Bush administration, that he is likely to make the job nearly impossible for the incoming chief. He wants to close GITMO. He has floated the idea of giving terrorists criminal rights. He has even floated the idea of prosecuting CIA interrogators that fall outside of his new guidelines for interrogations.
While such dovish and populist rhetoric may win him favors among his base, the reality is that it will do nothing but make everyone's job at the CIA so hard that no one will want to do it. That's why the Secretary of Labor has been announced but the CIA chief has not. Who wants to be head of the CIA when you are handcuffed in your primary role, intelligence gathering? Given that Obama's policies will make intelligence gathering far more difficult than it has to be, the CIA chief is not a job anyone wants. Furthermore, the performance of the left wing blogs and Obama's reaction to them, only further the perception that Obama will govern in an anti CIA way.
No CIA chief wants to be known as the one that allowed an attack. Without GITMO, renditions, tough interrogations (what some call torture), and with CIA personnel potentially facing their own criminal prosecution, the possibility that an attack will get through has just been increased exponentially. So, we have a President Elect that has been able to fill all sorts of marginal posts but can't seem to fill the head of intelligence while we are fighting a war. Worse than that, this very important dynamic is being ignored by the MSM.
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