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John Brennan's Confirmation Hearing Statement, February 2013

Author: John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
Published February 7, 2013

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held this confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan on February 7, 2013. The Committee posted Brennan's responses to their questionnaire for presidential nominees and additional prehearing questions, and video of the hearing.

Excerpt from Brennan's opening statement (PDF):

"During my 25-year career at CIA, I watched up close and even participated in history being made in far-off corners of the world, as CIA fulfilled its critical intelligence roles--collecting intelligence, uncovering secrets, identifying threats, partnering with foreign intelligence and security services, analyzing opaque and complicated developments abroad, carrying out covert action, and attempting to forceast events yet to happen--all in an effort to protect our people and strengthen America's national security.

And throughout my career, I had the great fortune to experience firsthand as well as to witness what it means to be a CIA officer.

  • Such as an analyst, who has the daunting task and tremendous responsibility to take incomplete and frequently contradictory information and advise the senior most policymakers of our government about foreign political, military, and economic developments.
  • Or an operations officer, whose job it is to find and obtain those elusive secrets that provide advance warning of strategic surprise; political turbulence; terrorist plots; impending violence; cyber attacks; and persistent threats such as nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons proliferation.
  • Or a technical expert, who seeks new and creative ways to find nuggets of intelligence in tremendous volumes of data, provide secure and even stealthy intelligence collection and communications systems, and counter the latest technological threats to our Nation.
  • Or a support officer or manager with the responsibility to ensure tha the core missions of the Agency--collecting intelligence, providing all-source analysis, and, when directed by the President, conducting covert action--are carried out with the requisite skill, speed, agility, and proficiency.

....I believe my CIA background and my other professional experiences have prepared me well for the challenge of leading the world's premier intelligence agency at this moment in history, which is as dynamic and consequential as any in recent decades, and will continue to be in the years ahead. Simply stated, the need for accurate intelligence and prescient analysis from CIA has never been greater than it is in 2013--or than it will be in the coming years.

  • Historic political, economic, and social transformations continue to sweep through the Middle East and North Africa, with major implications for our interests, Israel's security, our Arab partners, and the prospects for peace and stability throughout the region.
  • We remain at war with al-Qa'ida and its associated forces, which--despite the substantial prgress we have made against them--still seeks to carry out deadly strikes against our homeland and our citizens, as well as against our friends.
  • U.S. computer networks and databases are under daily cyber attack by nation states, international crime organizations, subnational groups, and individual hackers.
  • And regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang remain bent on pursuing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile delivery systems rather than fulfilling their international obligations or even meeting the basic core needs of their people.

Yes, the CIA's mission is as important to our Nation's security today as at any time in our Nation's history."

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