Former CIA director Brennan is not just any critic of Trump: unlike many others, he doesn’t come from the left. In fact, Brennan is the engineer of some of the most aggressive American efforts to eliminate jihadist terrorists.
President Barack Obama trusted Brennan deeply on counterterrorism issues and Brennan played an important role in the decision to carry out the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011.
Key Obama Cabinet officials, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Vice President Joe Biden, advocated against authorizing a US Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan because of all the risks involved in such an operation, which were compounded by only circumstantial evidence that bin Laden was living in Abbottabad.
By contrast, Brennan urged a go on the raid. He told the Obama that the CIA officials who had developed the intelligence on Abbottabad were, as he recalled in an interview with me later, “the people that have been following bin Laden for 15 years. This has been their life’s work, this has been their life’s journey, and they feel it very much in their gut that bin Laden is at that compound. I feel pretty good, if not certain, that bin Laden is at that compound.”
On the morning of April 29, 2011 at the White House Brennan again strongly recommended the SEAL operation, just before Obama gave the final order to authorize the raid.
A fluent Arabic speaker who was CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia before 9/11, Brennan was tapped in 2003 by George W. Bush to run the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), which was the first post-9/11 effort to “connect the dots” of all American intelligence flows. TTIC was set up to avoid what happened on 9/11 when information about two of the hijackers that was known to the CIA was not shared with the FBI in a timely fashion.
This improved intelligence-sharing was a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.
In January 2009, Obama made Brennan his homeland security and counterterrorism adviser.
Trump just picked on the wrong guy.