So the question remains, does Obama have anyone in his administration who is on our side?
Top video at 5:42 to 6:58 Brennan said in Arabic:
If you permit me after Indonisia I travelled to Egypt& there I studied Arabic at the American University of Cairo & that in 1975 & 1976 & I traveled to Jordan, Palestine & Jerusalem & Tunisia & after Egypt
I resided in the middle east for 6 months 6 years but now I am old I was a student & young I studied Arabic but now I forgot most of the language laze the tongue is laze I am sorry I am sorry for maybe G-d willing (Inshallah) I will learn Arabic one more time G-d willing (Inshallah)
He visited Palestine? Where the hell is that fairyland of killers?
Brennan Talks Terror in Arabic Politico hat tip Rut
President Barack Obama's embattled counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, delivered an emphatic defense Saturday of the Obama administration's rhetorical approach to terrorism — and also slipped in a few criticisms of Bush administration policies he suggested alienated Muslims at home and abroad.
In a speech at New York University’s law school, Brennan gave no nod to the calls for his resignation last week from the top Republicans on the House and Senate Intelligence committees. [Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also joined that bandwagon Sunday.]
Brennan seemed at ease speaking to the largely Muslim audience, which included Islamic law students. In fact, he broke out his Arabic at some length, drawing a warm reaction from the crowd. (Scroll to 5:43 in the first video below for that chunk. I think I hear the words youth and student in there.)
To me, the most interesting revelation was that Brennan, who has a hard-edged, tough-cop image, once traveled through Indonesia sporting an earring and long hair.
Some of the most newsworthy stuff came during a lengthy Q-and-A session that the White House just posted on the Web. In response to a questioner who wants a New York City trial for alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Brennan was noncommittal but seemed to favor a civilian trial if practicalities could be worked out.
"As far as support from the community and the funding requirement, the most important thing to keep in mind is we need to bring him to justice in an American court," Brennan said, according to the New York Daily News. “Whether it happens in New York, Pennsylvania or Virginia, where will funding come from? ... Clearly, this is an issue people in the city feel strongly about. … We are trying to push this forward as best we can, but we also need nonobstruction from certain forces in our government. … There are stiff winds delaying us from bringing this man to justice.”
While figures like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have accused Obama of being soft on terrorism because he avoids terms like “war on terror” and “jihadist,” Brennan strongly endorsed the president’s approach.
“They are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose, and there is nothing — absolutely nothing — holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” Brennan said. “We are not waging a war against terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic that will never be defeated, any more than a tactics of war will. Rather, such thinking is a recipe for endless conflict. ... We are at war with Al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and any comment to the contrary is just inaccurate. We will destroy that organization.”
Brennan also charged that some actions by the U.S. government, presumably the Bush administration, underscored perceptions that the U.S. was in conflict with Islam. He cited as examples of overreach: “Violations of the Patriot Act. Surveillance that has been excessive. Policies perceived as profiling. Overinclusive no-fly lists subjecting law-abiding individuals to unnecessary searches and inconvenience. Creating an unhelpful atmosphere around many Muslim charities that made many Muslims hesitant to fulfill their sacred obligation of Zakat.”
Brennan’s statement that some individuals, presumably Muslims, were subjected to “excessive” surveillance is one I have not heard before from government officials and one that will hearten civil liberties advocates who have claimed that mosques were subjected to unwarranted scrutiny.
There's more. And wait, there's this:
King: Brennan should be fired
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, is calling for the resignation — or immediate firing — of Obama adviser John Brennan.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also called for Brennan's head, telling FOX News Sunday that the adviser "has lost my confidence."
King tells me that Brennan's downplaying, on Saturday, of the 20 percent recidivism rate at Gitmo was the final straw.
"I strongly believe that John Brennan ought to resign immediately or be fired because of his incompetence and inability to do his job. Any homeland security adviser who can't tell the difference between a terrorist and a shoplifter doesn't belong in office," King said.
King, who also wants Brennan to testify before the committee, called him a "wiseguy who tries to get cute."
A White House spokesman didn't want to get into a back-and-forth with King, a Rudy Giuliani ally who been poking the administration as soft on terror for weeks.
Brennan, speaking at NYU Law School on Saturday, lamented the fact that a handful of Gitmo combatants returned to the battlefield, but he also compared the recidivism rate (itself a law enforcement term) to that of common criminals, which played into King's larger argument.
"People sometimes use that figure, 20 percent, say 'Oh my goodness, one out of five detainees returned to some type of extremist activity,'" Brennan said. "You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime. Twenty percent isn't that bad."
But Brennan hardly minimized the risk, adding, "Many of these detainees have returned, have engaged not just extremism, but terrorist attacks. It is something that we have to look at very carefully."