King Calls for Brennan’s Ouster

Posted February 14, 2010 at 4:35pm

The top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee on Sunday joined a growing chorus of Republicans who have called for John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, to resign or be fired.

Homeland Security ranking member Peter King (R-N.Y.) told Roll Call in an interview that he made his decision to call for Brennan’s removal after hearing about Brennan’s comments during a speech on Saturday to students at Islamic Center at New York University.

During the speech, Brennan compared the 20 percent recidivism rate of Guantánamo Bay detainees to common criminals in the United States.

“People sometimes use that figure, 20 percent, say ‘Oh my goodness, one out of five detainees return to some type of extremist activity,'” Brennan said, according to a video of the speech posted on the White House Web site. “You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime. Twenty percent isn’t that bad.”

King said Sunday that any Homeland Security official who thinks “a shoplifter” is the same as “an al-Qaida terrorist should resign or be fired.”

“The comments showed how arrogant and how incompetent he is,” King said.

A White House spokesman could not be reached for comment.

King’s comments come after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on “Fox News Sunday” that Brennan should step aside.

“He has lost my confidence,” Graham said. “I think it’d be better to have a new person in that job.”

Brennan has been under fire from House and Senate Republicans for several weeks for his role in allowing Christmas Day bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to be read his Miranda rights while in U.S. custody.

National Security Adviser James Jones defended Brennan and Obama’s strategy against Republican criticism on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We’ve had a long record of prosecuting terrorists in federal courts with great success,” Jones said on CNN. “The best advice will come from the attorney general’s office, and we’ll make a decision.”