President Obama will nominate John Brennan as his next director of
the Central Intelligence Agency, senior administration officials tell
CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett.
a 25-year CIA veteran, currently serves as Mr. Obama's top
counterterrorism adviser. The president will announce Brennan's
nomination at 1 p.m. ET. At the same event, an administration official
says, the president will also formally announce that he is nominating
Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary.
secretary of state nominee Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Hagel and Brennan
would play key roles implementing and shaping Obama's national security
priorities in a second term. All three men must be confirmed by the
Mr. Obama considered Brennan for the top CIA job
in 2008. But Brennan withdrew his name amid questions about his
connection to enhanced interrogation techniques while serving in the spy
agency during the George W. Bush administration.
Brennan denied involvement in the controversial interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, and has spoken out against them.
a letter to Mr. Obama at the time, Brennan said he was "a strong
opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration, such as the
preemptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include
waterboarding." Many people consider waterboarding and other harsh
interrogation methods to be torture.
officials say they don't expect Brennan to face similar trouble this
time around given his four years of service in the Obama administration.
issue has been removed from the debate because the president and John
Brennan, as his top counterterrorism adviser, brought those techniques
to an end," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said.
Brennan's nomination will likely put a spotlight on the
administration's controversial drone program. Brennan was the first
Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge the highly
secretive targeted killing operations.
defended the legality of the overseas drone operations and has said they
protect American lives and prevent potential terror attacks.
If confirmed, Brennan will succeed David Petraeus, who resigned in November after admitting to an affair with his biographer.
CIA director Michael Morell has been serving as the agency's acting
director since Petraeus resigned and was considered by Obama for the top
job. Rhodes said Morell will attend Monday's White House event and is
expected to stay at the CIA.
Hagel would replace retiring
Pentagon chief Leon Panetta at a time when the Defense Department is
facing potentially deep budget cuts. Hagel would also be tasked with
overseeing the military drawdown in Afghanistan, where the U.S.-led war
is scheduled to end in two years.
Hagel is likely to support a more rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan than some military generals.
In nominating Hagel, Obama signaled he is willing to take on a tough
confirmation fight. Once Hagel emerged as Obama's likely nominee, GOP
lawmakers began sharply questioning his commitment to Israel and his
willingness to take a hard line with Iran over its disputed nuclear
Hagel, a 66-year-old moderate Nebraska
Republican, has criticized discussion of a military strike by either the
U.S. or Israel against Iran. He also irritated some Israel backers with
his reference to the "Jewish lobby" in the United States. And he has
backed efforts to bring Iran to the table for future peace talks in
White House officials say Hagel's positions
on Israel and Iran have been misrepresented. They cite his Senate votes
for billions in military assistance to Israel and his support for
multilateral sanctions on Tehran.
Rhodes said Hagel will be "completely in line with the president" on both issues.
president has a record of unprecedented security cooperation with
Israel and that's going to continue no matter who the defense secretary
is," Rhodes said.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, said Sunday
he was reserving judgment on whether to support Hagel but predicted the
former senator would face serious questions.
must have "a full understanding of our close relationship with out
Israeli allies, the Iranian threat and the importance of having a robust
military," McConnell said on ABC's "This Week."
second-ranking Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said in a
statement that making Hagel defense secretary would be "the worst
possible message we could send to our friend Israel and the rest of our
allies in the Middle East."
Despite the criticism, no Republican lawmakers have threatened to try to block Hagel's nomination.
has also been criticized by some Democrats for saying in 1998 that a
nominee for an ambassador post was "openly, aggressively gay." He has
since apologized for those comments.
Hagel is the second
straight Obama favorite for a top national security post to face
criticism from Capitol Hill even before being nominated. United Nations
Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for secretary
of state amid charges from GOP senators that she misled the public in
her initial accounting of the attacks on Americans at a diplomatic post
in Benghazi, Libya.
Monday's nominations leave Obama
without a woman in line for a top administration post, a fact that has
irked some Democratic women. The president will soon name a new treasury
secretary, but current White House chief of staff Jack Lew is the
front-runner for the post.