Wednesday, August 26, 2009
President Barack Obama has tried to distance himself in every way from Bush-era interrogation policies, stripping the lead role in questioning detainees from the CIA and banning the harshest tactics critics have decried as torture.
But now, Obama has chosen a man who was at the heart of Bush’s intelligence effort to play a key role in overseeing the new administration’s own interrogation policies: John Brennan, a 25-year CIA veteran who was privy to the extreme tactics Obama has declared off limits.
The White House on Tuesday refused to discuss Brennan’s exact role in the new interrogation policy. But a former CIA official familiar with the situation said Brennan — Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser — will head up a National Security Council team overseeing a new Justice Department interrogation corps, specifically chosen to interrogate the most important terror detainees.
The new interrogation unit will be led by the FBI, with the CIA in a supporting role.