John Brennan’s Politicized Intelligence

The CIA director calls critics of Obama’s Iran policy dishonest.

By WSJ Staff

Wall Street Journal

April 9, 2015

Remember when the left accused the Bush Administration of politicizing intelligence to justify its invasion of Iraq? It wasn’t true, but someone ought to remind CIA director John Brennan. Because in attacking critics of the President’s Iran policy Tuesday, he sounded more like a White House communications director than a CIA chief.

During remarks at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, Mr. Brennan said anyone who knew the facts and believes the deal with Tehran “provides a pathway for Iran to a bomb” is being “wholly disingenuous.” If we take him at his word, former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, who wrote on our pages Wednesday, must be dishonest in their detailed, careful critique.

Think about that for a moment. A CIA director claims that any disagreement over a highly complicated and controversial deal must come from base motives. Think of the signal that sends to the CIA analysts who will be responsible for monitoring the deal and ascertaining whether Iran is violating it. Better not speak up!

Then again Mr. Brennan has been carrying water for President Obama for a long time. After he left the CIA in the 2000s, he denounced waterboarding as something that “goes beyond the bounds of what a civilized society should employ,” which nicely fit the Obama campaign narrative. But Mr. Brennan still insisted it had provided vital intel. The 2008 campaign help earned Mr. Brennan a White House job in 2009, then a promotion to the CIA in 2013, where the White House seems still to be writing his talking points.

Regarding facts and nuclear weapons in the Middle East, Mr. Brennan would better spend his time making sure the CIA doesn’t repeat its past mistakes. Before the first Gulf War the agency greatly underestimated Saddam Hussein’s nuclear programs, then in 2003 it vastly overestimated them. A few years later it wrongly concluded Iran had given up its nuclear ambitions.

Mr. Brennan’s naked public partisanship harms the CIA by making whatever it now says about Iran simply unbelievable.