No one could accuse former CIA Director John Brennan of being a peacenik or too soft on the United States’ enemies.
The lifelong CIA man (he started with the agency as a Mid-East analyst and station chief for 25 years) has faced criticism for overseeing a substantial increase in CIA drone strikes on targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Afghanistan.
When he was nominated to head the CIA in 2013, Senator Rand Paul even stood speaking for 13 hours to filibuster his nomination.
In response to the news that the White House has unilaterally withdrawn from the widely-hailed 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Brennan had this to say:
Today, Donald Trump simultaneously lied about the Iranian nuclear deal, undermined global confidence in US commitments, alienated our closest allies, strengthened Iranian hawks, & gave North Korea more reason to keep its nukes. This madness is a danger to our national security.
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) May 8, 2018
The Iran nuclear deal strictly limited Iran’s capacity to create nuclear weapons, while requiring international inspections of nuclear sites used to generate electricity. In return heavy economic sanctions against the Iranian economy were lifted.
President Donald Trump called the deal “horrible” and “one-sided,” as he announced the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the deal, which U.S. allies swiftly announced their intention to continue implementing with Iran’s cooperation.
Today, Donald Trump simultaneously lied about the Iranian nuclear deal, undermined global confidence in US commitments, alienated our closest allies, strengthened Iranian hawks, & gave North Korea more reason to keep its nukes.John Brennan
He added: “Today’s action sends a critical message: the United States no longer makes empty threats.”
But as John Brennan points out, the real, unavoidable message of this action is that the United States still makes empty promises.
The White House’s determination to go back on a deal the United States has already agreed to over the objections of allies who are still committed to the deal will have a lasting, chilling effect on future U.S. diplomacy.
It also sets a precedent for other countries to follow suit and “renegotiate” deals they don’t like by simply breaking them.
Since campaigning for president, Donald Trump has taken an aggressive posture toward Iran and the deal it struck with the United Nations to dismantle much of its nuclear capability and cooperate with inspectors.
Trump campaigned on withdrawing from the deal, but the timing this week has to do with claims by Israeli intelligence that Iran cannot be trusted to keep the agreement.
But multiple U.S. intelligence sources have told NBC News that the thousands of documents Israel turned over to the U.S. to make the case against Iran contained no big surprises for the U.S. intelligence community.
That’s not hard to believe considering all the information the Israelis have turned over is from 1999 – 2003.
In the years since then, the United States’ intelligence community has repeatedly told the White House and public that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.