National Security Network

Spooky Pasts for Obama Intel Leaders?

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News Politico 14 November 2008

National Security Network rand beers

President-elect Barack Obama's intelligence transition team leaders have a past that might spook a few Democrats.

Both served in the President Bush's CIA from 2002 to 2005, when the agency was involved in controversial decisions on the interrogation of suspected terrorists.

Judith Miscik left as Bush's deputy director of intelligence in 2005. From 2005 to 2008, she was the global head of sovereign risk at the now-failed Lehman Brothers.

John Brennan, president and CEO of The Analysis Corp., had a much longer career in the CIA, serving from 1980 to 2005.

In March, one of his Analysis employees was investigated for peeping at the passport files of presidential candidates Obama, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), The Washington Times reported.

In an interview with CBS News, Brennan denounced the use of waterboarding as torture, but he added that information resulting from harsh interrogation tactics has saved lives. He contributed $2,300 to Obama's campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama's transition team did not respond to a request for comment.

Obama's homeland security transition team leaders also have deep ties to Republican administrations, but supported Democrats in this election.

Rand Beers, a former Marine, replaced Oliver North on the Reagan administration's National Security Council and has worked for every president since.

He was working in Bush's counterterrorism office in 2003, but told The Washington Post he resigned because he believed the administration's war on terrorism was making the nation less secure.

Two months later, he joined Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In this campaign, Beers was a surrogate for Obama through the National Security Network and donated $2,300 to him.

Clark Kent Ervin came to Washington from Texas to serve in the new Bush administration, as an inspector general at the State Department and acting IG at the Department of Homeland Security.

Ervin was fired after reporting on lapses with regard to stolen passports, port security and baggage screening.

Ervin, now the director of the Aspen Institute's homeland security program, is a member of the Wartime Contracting Commission on Iraq and Afghanistan. He's also a CNN analyst and serves on the board of advisers of Clear Path Technologies Inc.

Gayle E. Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Aaron Williams, a vice president at RTI International, are leading Obama's foreign assistance team.

Smith, who worked in the Clinton administration, is now on the advisory board of DATA, the advocacy group founded by U2 singer Bono. She donated $2,300 to Obama's presidential campaign; Williams donated $3,000.