Is New CIA Chief a Muslim?
By: OnIslam & Newspapers
A leading US Muslim advocacy group has cast doubts on reports about the reversion of President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA, John Brennan, to Islam.
“You have to look at the source,” Ibrahim Hooper, the communication director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told US News.
Hooper said he has no knowledge of Brennan’s reversion to Islam.
Rumors were widely circulated that Brennan has reverted to Islam while working as the CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia the 1990s.
Former FBI agent John Guandolo told the US Trento Radio Show that Brennan reverted to Islam and visited the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
Guandolo cited a video of the CIA nominee in which he said that during his time in Saudi Arabia, he “marveled at the majesty of the Hajj and the devotion of those who fulfilled their duty as Muslims by making that pilgrimage.”
He said that this “video confirms Brennan converted to Islam” since non-Muslims are not allowed to visit Makkah and Madinah, especially during the Hajj season.
Brennan, a counter-terrorism adviser, was nominated by President Barack Obama in January to become the new director of the CIA.
He would succeed retired General David Petraeus, who resigned amid a scandal over an extramarital affair with his biographer.
Guandolo said that Brennan is “un-fit” to head the CIA.
“The facts (are)…confirmed by U.S. government officials who were also in Saudi Arabia at the time that John Brennan was serving …they were direct witnesses to his growing relationships with individuals who work with the Saudi government and they witnessed his conversion to Islam.”
Hooper said that American Muslims oppose Brennan’s nomination over his support for drone attacks and the use of torture techniques.
He predicted that the story about Brennan’s alleged conversion would traction in the “right-wing echo chamber, [where] someone throws some spaghetti against the wall then they all pick it up and E-mail it to each other.”
Brennan is known for his defense of the US campaign of lethal drone strikes as legal under international law.
US drone strikes in Pakistan have been a source of tension with the United States.
One national security official familiar with Brennan’s White House record said he is expected to favor aggressively moving forward with drone operations, even at the expense of offending Pakistani sensibilities.
Brennan was also a staunch supporter for aggressive torture techniques and renditions under former president George W. Bush.
The CIA nominee was a defender of the abusive interrogation techniques against terror suspects.