Obama's Top CIA Pick Drops Out

Brennan withdraws under pressure but denies backing torture
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2008 4:46 AM CST
John Brennan, President-elect Barack Obama's top adviser on intelligence, took his name out of the running for any intelligence position in the new administration.   (AP Photo Lawrence Jackson, File)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's top intelligence adviser and his first choice for CIA director has withdrawn his name from consideration, the Los Angeles Times reports. John Brennan, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was branded by some liberal groups as a proponent of the harsh interrogation techniques used against terrorist suspects during the Bush administration. Brennan insists he opposed such techniques.

Brennan’s withdrawal complicates the president-elect’s desire for a smooth transition on national security, especially if liberal pressure will steer Obama's team clear of appointees linked to President Bush. "If you want an intelligence professional— and they seem to be leaning in that direction—you're left with somebody who hasn't worked there for eight years," said one observer. "I don't know who fits that bill."