As the evidence of Karl Rove’s monkeying around with appointments in order to politicize the Bush Admin piles up, we’re entitled to be suspicious when the White House rejects candidate after candidate for a sensitive job, especially when the rejected applicant appears to be eminently qualified for it.
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has been unable to find a deputy acceptable to the White House during his first six weeks in office.
Several candidates approached by McConnell either turned down the job or were rejected by the White House, according to current and former administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not supposed to discuss the matter.
McConnell himself turned the position down last year and “changed his mind only when offered the top job”. Deputy Director of National Intelligence isn’t considered a very attractive job in Bushie circles, apparently. “Why not?” might be an interesting question to answer but more interesting, in the context of the GAO scandal, the Gonzo 8 firings, and the revelations that came out of Kyle Sampson’s emails, might be “What criteria is Rove using to reject applicants?”
The only candidate named in Walter Pinkus’ article in the WaPo is one John O Brennan, and he was a WH reject. Looking at his resume, one likely reason jumps out at you: where McConnell is an ex-Cheney accolyte who worked “closely” with L’il Dick during the First Gulf War and is presumably loyal to him (Cheney doesn’t keep people around him who aren’t), Brennan is a protege of that other George – Tenet, the guy who fought Cheney and Doug Feith’s OSP/C-TEG to keep bogus intel from Curveball out of Bush’s speeches right up until the famous “slam-dunk” moment when he threw up his hands and surrendered to the inevitable. It’s not unreasonable to assume that Rove rejected Brennan because he wasn’t a “loyal Bushie” since that’s Karl’s dominant concern when it comes to making WH appointments.
Because we don’t know who the other candidates were, we can only speculate about the reasons they might have either turned down the job or been turned down by Karl, but an assumption that Rove wants either a Bush loyalist or an obedient Cheney/neocon sockpuppet isn’t out of line. Normally a job like this would get handed to somebody like Doug Feith of OSP, or Mike Maloof or David Wurmser of C-TEG (the Counter-Terrorism Evaluation Group) – Gingrich devotees who could be trusted to stovepipe the raw data supporting whatever position Cheney takes. I say “trusted” because they’ve done it before, during the run-up to the Second Gulf War.
Enter yet another consideration: the Democratic Congress and the fact that the DDNI position is supposed to be subject to the Senate confirmation process.
There isn’t a snowball’s chance in a St Louis summer that the Democratically-controlled Senate would confirm any of them given their history. Feith in particular is anathema because of his open contempt for Congress, the Geneva Convention, and the law in general. Like all good little neocon fabulists, Feith is a rabid believer in the unitary executive and the abolition of Congress, and his recent testimony in a Congressional hearing was marked by an active, combative hostility that openly rejected the idea that they had a right to ask him anything at all, let alone question his judgment, decisions, and competence.
Take that misbegotten trio out of the equation and the field of acceptable candidates shrinks dramatically. One is left with the military – where Bush loyalists are a lot harder to find (or trust) these days – and the intelligence community, where anger at the way they were used and abused, first by Cheney and then by Porter Goss, is at an all-time high.
If Rove is looking for a loyal Bushie with intel experience who might also be acceptable to a suspicious Congress, this job search could go on for a long time.