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Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, offers candid comments on Obama's nominations of Hagel, Brennan, and Kerry; deplores prosecution of John Kiriakou.Ray McGovern, veteran CIA analyst-turned-activist returns to talk about key appointments to Obama's second term cabinet.
We start with retired GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, nominated to run the Pentagon. PBC offers a list of 9 pro's and 7 con's, and McGovern supports Hagel because he is a decorated Vietnam vet who understands the real price of war in human and financial terms. Noting his independence as a senator who refused to vote for a number of pro-Israel resolutions and who once criticized the hefty influence of the "Jewish lobby", McGovern hopes this indicates a shift in US policy toward Israel. He also notes that Hagel has called for an exit from Afghanistan, seems more realistic about the danger of war with Iran, and is willing to make serious cuts in defense spending.
McGovern has been a sharp critic of John Brennan's role in Obama's expanded use of drones and targeted killing program. He served at CIA as a senior analyst when Brennan was a junior analyst, and considers Brennan an opportunist who rose to power as George Tenet's #2. McGovern's sources at CIA confirm that Brennan was deeply involved in the Bush era rendition, torture and black ops programs, which is why he withdrew from consideration as CIA director in 2009. You can read a series of articles by McGovern about Brennan, and see a recent photo of a White House protest against the Brennan nomination here.
We also talk briefly about the nomination of Sen. John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State; McGovern is not enthusiastic. PBC references an analysis of Kerry's record by Prof. Stephen Zunes of University of San Francisco. Read it here.
Finally, McGovern shares his disgust with the prosecution of former CIA officer John Kiriakou and his recent plea bargain that is expected to cost him 30 months in federal prison. Kiriakou will be the first and only person to pay a price for the illegal torture practices, including waterboarding, that occurred under Bush, and McGovern notes that Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any previous president.