President Obama will make two potentially controversial nominations this afternoon: Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and John Brennan as CIA director, the AP reports. Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, has a close relationship with the president and was very involved in planning the Osama bin Laden raid. He was at the CIA for 25 years, a period that included George W. Bush's presidency. Because of that link, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration when Obama considered him for the CIA director post in 2008, though he says he was not involved in any so-called "enhanced interrogation" and, in fact, opposes it.
But the White House doesn't expect that issue to be a problem this time around, since he has now served under Obama for four years and, says Obama's deputy national security adviser, "the president and John Brennan, as his top counterterrorism adviser, brought those techniques to an end." However, seeing as Brennan was also the first member of the Obama administration to publicly acknowledge the drone program, his nomination could put that controversial issue in the spotlight; Brennan has strongly defended the program in the past. If confirmed, he will succeed David Petraeus as CIA director. Deputy CIA director Michael Morell, who has been serving in the interim since Petraeus resigned, is expected to stay at the agency. (As for Hagel, click for the GOP's reaction to his forthcoming nomination.)