The calls for President Obama’s homeland-security adviser John Brennan to step down from his administrative post are multiplying, with Sen. John McCain asserting he’s “lost touch with reality.”
The criticism follows Brennan’s recent appearance at a New York University assembly and his comments that having a percentage of terrorists released by the U.S. return to terrorist attacks “isn’t that bad,” since the recidivism rate for inmates in the U.S. prison system is higher.
Watch Brennan’s address at NYU:
“People sometimes use that figure, 20 percent, say ‘Oh my goodness, one out of five detainees returned to some type of extremist activity,’” Brennan said. “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.”
Brennan also added, “Many of these detainees have returned, have engaged not just extremism, but terrorist attacks. It is something that we have to look at very carefully.”
Blogger Pamela Geller at AtlasShrugs pointed out Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., previously called for Brennan’s departure.
Graham told Fox News that Brennan had “lost my confidence.”
Then Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., added his perspective.
“I strongly believe that John Brennan ought to resign immediately or be fired because of his incompetence and inability to do his job,” he told Fox. “Any homeland security adviser who can’t tell the difference between a terrorist and a shoplifter doesn’t belong in office.”:
Then McCain, the Republican from Arizona, joined in.
“When you impugn people’s patriotism and integrity and make statements that compare people going back into the fight in Afghanistan or Yemen or other places with criminals who go back to a life of crime in the United States, you’ve lost touch with reality,” he said.
In his presentation, Brennan also talked about his experiences with the “tremendous warmth of Islamic culture” and praised Muslims for serving in every level of national security, from local police and firefighters to first responders at the 9/11 terror attacks.
He also separated al-Qaida from Islam.
“They [al-Qaida] are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose, and there is nothing – absolutely nothing – holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” he said.
“We are not waging a war against terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic that will never be defeated, any more than a tactics of war will. … We are at war with al-Qaida and its extremist allies, and any comment to the contrary is just inaccurate,” he said.
He also criticized the U.S. government for surveillance “that has been excessive” and policies “perceived as profiling.”
Brennan also was noncommittal on a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of 9/11.
“As far as support from the community and the funding requirement, the most important thing to keep in mind is we need to bring him to justice in an American court,” the New York Daily News reported he said.
“Whether it happens in New York, Pennsylvania or Virginia, where will funding come from? … Clearly, this is an issue people in the city feel strongly about. … We are trying to push this forward as best we can, but we also need nonobstruction from certain forces in our government.”
Brennan said Muslims themselves suffer the most at the hands of “extremists,” and he praised Obama for fighting against “negative stereotypes.”