National security adviser backs Brennan after controversial week for terror chief

National security adviser backs Brennan after controversial week for terror chief

Lead counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's boss defended him Sunday after a week of controversy in which he accused critics of the terrorism strategy of aiding al-Qaeda's goals and lauded a 20 percent recidivism rate for released terorrists.

"If I were a terrorist somewhere in the country and I knew John Brennan was tracking me down, I wouldn't feel too comfortable about my long-term prospects," National Security Adviser James Jones said on "Fox News Sunday."

While stressing that the national security team worked with both sides of the Hill, Jones said, "I know John Brennan, I know how he operates, and I'm happy that he's on our team."

Controversy over Brennan began a week ago, when Brennan said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery MORE (R-Ohio), Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) were all briefed on Christmas Day about bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and that they raised no objections. The four Republicans immediately lashed out at Brennan's comments, saying they were not told of any decision to read Miranda rights to Abdulmutallab.

Brennan shot back in an op-ed in USA Today, writing, "Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of Al Qaeda."

Then, in a speech, Brennan defended a recidivism rate of 20 percent of released terror suspects returing to terrorist activity, drawing further criticism.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), also on "Fox News Sunday," said that Brennan should resign, adding he couldn't see how Americans could feel safe with a counterterrorism adviser accepting a 20 percent recidivism rate.

"I think it would be better to have a new person in that job," Graham said, adding that Brennan's comments were "astounding" and "mind-boggling."

Graham said that Brennan had lost his confidence, but that the controversy was reflective of the administration as a whole when it comes to fighting the war on terror.

"I dont question their motives ... they're trying to start over, they're trying to improve our image, but their policies make no sense," Graham said.

Jones defended the rehabilitation programs that attempt to cut down the recidivism rate of released terrorists, adding, "It's never going to be zero."