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Ray McGovern | Consortium News

CIA Director-designee John Brennan, currently deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism.

CIA Director-designee John Brennan, currently deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism.

As Washington’s pundit class sees it, Defense Secretary-designee Chuck Hagel deserves a tough grilling over his hesitancy to go to war with Iran and his controversial detection of a pro-Israel lobby operating in the U.S. capital, but prospective CIA Director John Brennan should get only a few polite queries about his role helping to create and sustain Dick Cheney’s “dark side.”

During the upcoming confirmation hearings of these two nominees for President Barack Obama’s national security team, we all may get a revealing look into the upside-down world of Washington’s moral and geopolitical priorities, where too much skepticism about rushing to war is disqualifying and complicity in war crimes is okay, maybe even expected.

CIA Director-designee John Brennan, currently deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism.

Still, there is at least a hope that Brennan’s confirmation hearing might provide an opening for the Senate Intelligence Committee to force out the secret legal justifications and the operational procedures for the lethal drone program that has expanded under Obama, including successfully targeting for death U.S. citizen and al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

Over the past few years, senior administration officials have praised the rigorous standards applied to these life-or-death decisions by Brennan and his counterterrorism team, but have refused to release the constitutional rationales for the President exerting these extraordinary powers or to explain exactly the methodology of selecting targets. Read More

Ray McGovern | Consortium News

Exclusive: Even as the United States has withdrawn from Iraq and has begun to wind down the Afghan War, the lethal reach of the U.S. military has been extended into other countries through Predator drones. What is less known is the full human and political costs, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Several friends of mine are among the 35 American activists assembling in Pakistan in recent days in an effort to seek ground truth on the impact of U.S. drone strikes on civilians there. I will be holding them and their Pakistani hosts and co-travelers in the Light, as my Quaker friends like to say, and will now try to do my part in what follows to put this dangerous journey in perspective.

The American group, organized by Code Pink Women for Peace, is meeting this week with a wide swath of Pakistanis, including representatives of the various political parties. Today, former U.S. diplomat and Army Col. Ann Wright was scheduled to address the Institute of Strategic Studies, Pakistan’s largest think tank, which advises the Foreign Office.

The MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. (Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt)

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