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Public Statements

Brennan Nomination

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. REID. Mr. President, as America closely observes the unfolding of events in Syria and deals with varying threats around the world, it is crucial that President Obama has a seasoned national security team in place.

It is often said there is no substitute for experience, so it is natural that a 25-year CIA veteran, John Brennan, was reported out of the Senate Intelligence Committee by a wide margin on a bipartisan vote.

Mr. Brennan is a highly qualified nominee and should be confirmed immediately. As Deputy National Security Adviser since 2009, John Brennan has been President Obama's chief homeland security and counterterrorism adviser. He has been at the forefront of every major national security decision made during the Obama administration. He is responsible for the White House response to pandemics, cyber threats, natural disasters, and terrorism attacks. He has played an instrumental role in finding Osama bin Laden, killing bin Laden, and, in effect, decimating al-Qaida.

His distinguished intelligence career began more than 30 years ago when he joined the CIA as a career trainee straight out of graduate school. Mr. Brennan worked his way up through the agency to serve in senior management roles in the CIA, including as Deputy Executive Director under George Tenant. Years spent working on covert and analytical missions and as chief of station in Saudi Arabia give him a comprehensive understanding of the CIA's capabilities and inner workings. His knowledge of the Middle East will be essential as we continue to work to defeat al-Qaida and other terrorist threats.

Mr. Brennan has distinguished himself outside of government as well. He spent 4 years in the private sector as president and CEO of the Analysis Corporation. His extensive intelligence background and executive experience uniquely qualify him to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Just as CIA faces the challenges abroad, it also faces significant decisions about its future. John Brennan must guide the CIA through a series of considerations dealing with the Agency's relationship with our military, how the Agency should respond to the conclusions of a recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on interrogation techniques and practices, and, finally, the Agency's response to demands for transparency. These considerations must not be made lightly, and John Brennan will give them the attention they deserve in his role as Director.

The Senate must also approach its duty to advise and consent with the solemnity it deserves. Unfortunately, the confirmation process has focused too much this year and the last two Congresses on partisan political considerations and not enough on the quality of the nominees.

I am very disappointed that I am forced to file cloture on John Brennan's nomination. What does that accomplish? If someone doesn't like him, come here and give a big speech, wave your arms, scream and shout, and vote against him. But why hold up the entire Senate over a meaningless vote?

My Republican colleagues have already obstructed several critical nominations this year. I hope that pattern of obstructionist behavior will not persist. I do hope for the sake of the country the obstruction of the last two Congresses will vanish. I feel very certain that in Mr. Brennan's case concerns for national security will outweigh the desire to grandstand for the weakened tea party.


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