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John Brennan as Obama’s Counterterrorism Guru

According to the New York Times, John Brennan is back and it looks like he may get Richard Clarke’s old job. It also appears as if Obama is going to reorganize the way we approach counterterrorism.

The plan being discussed would eliminate the independent homeland security adviser’s office and assign those duties to the National Security Council to streamline sometimes overlapping functions. A deputy national security adviser would be charged with overseeing the effort to guard against terrorism and to respond to natural disasters.

Democrats close to the transition said Mr. Obama’s choice for that job was John O. Brennan, a longtime C.I.A. veteran who was the front-runner to head the spy agency until withdrawing in November amid criticism of his views on interrogation and detention policies. His appointment would not require Senate confirmation. [...]

That gust of wind you just felt on the back of your neck is the collective C.I.A. breathing an easy exhale.

Brennan took a lot of heat from Glenn Greenwald and many others when he was first being considered for C.I.A. chief, with my main objection to him his strong backing of rendition. But he knows his stuff and inside the White House he’ll be able to give Obama what he needs. He also won’t have to worry about a confirmation hearing either, which would likely get ugly.

I doubt this will soothe Bill O’Reilly, who is leading a one man fear campaign directed at Barack Obama, repeating ad nauseam that Obama’s plans for the C.I.A. will cause another attack. That getting rid of torture will make the U.S. vulnerable. O’Reilly has Obama’s presidency in shambles before he’s even sworn in.

But the thing I like best about what the Times is reporting is that Obama may eliminate the homeland security adviser’s office, assigning them to the NSC instead. This is exactly what’s needed. I’ve been bitching about the homeland security island inside the White House since it was created. Besides, any time I hear the word “streamline” when it comes to security it makes me think people just might be talking to each other.

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