The trouble with Brennan

What’s wrong with Rand Paul’s filibuster of Brennan? The filibuster appears to be something of a pretxt for Senator Paul to raise the national security issue that troubles him. As I understand it (and I may be mistaken), the pretextual nature of the filibuster isn’t in dispute. The filibuster seems to me to distract from understanding the trouble with Brennan. The trouble with Brennan is his willful blindness to the security threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups operating in Africa and the Middle East. Brennan is unfit for the job to which he has been nominated.

This was one of the implicit points of Andrew McCarthy’s recent NRO column “Twenty years after the WTC,” all of which warrants a close reading. When he gets to Brennan, Andy writes:

We did not want to acknowledge the sharia logic of the terrorists 20 years ago. We were told then that Islam had nothing to do with attacks on the West incited by Muslim jurists citing Muslim scripture.

There is no selling that fairy tale today, not after thousands of Americans have lost their lives. So the lie has become more aggressive, like Islam itself. While poseurs such as John Brennan — President Obama’s counterterrorism czar and nominee for CIA director — distort the meaning of jihad, Islamists and their fellow travelers seek not merely to suppress by intimidation but to criminalize by law the objective examination of Islamic supremacism.

Brennan gave a mind–boggling speech before a Muslim audience at NYU in 2010 as part of “A Dialogue on Our Nation’s Security.” The video of Brennan speaking is still available on the White House Web site. The speech was part of a public forum co-hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Islamic Center at New York University. As Brennan moves to head the CIA, the video is once again must viewing.

Brennan testifies to the beauty and goodness of Islam in a speech full of the apologetics, false equivalences and straw men that we have come to expect from the Obama administration in addressing these matters. As he instructs the faithful in the meaning of Islam, he doesn’t quite get around to the subject of jihad.

Brennan decries “violations” of the PATRIOT Act (?!), surveillance that has been viewed as excessive, policies that have been perceived as profiling, and the creation of an “unhelpful atmosphere” around Muslim charities. Brennan doesn’t mention the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim charity surrounded by a particularly unhelpful atmosphere when it was shuttered by the government as a terrorist front (and later convicted on the same ground). The pandering and evasions that permeate Brennan’s speech have to be seen to be believed.

Brennan sought to address the subject of jihad elsewhere. As Kerry Picket recalls, Brennan followed up on his NYU remarks in an aborted meeting with the editors of the Washington Times. Unable to avail himself of his usual evasions, Brennan walked out of the meeting with the editors for which he himself had asked.

Late last month Frank Gaffney convened a virtual press conference featuring McCarthy and others. The video (below) was posted online on February 27. Andy appears in the video at 20:00. With Brennan on the verge of confirmation, has any Senator made the relevant points?


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