Brennan Redeems Himself?

John Brennan delivered a major address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies yesterday. Ambers distills the speech. He later notes:

During the Q and A session, Brennan, speaking in a knowledgeable staccato, would not say whether he supported a classified annex to the Army Field Manual's interrogation practices, nor would he say how the administration might deal with future preventative detentions. He did say that those cases were "dwindling" because "foreign countries are standing up."

Marcy Wheeler adds that Brennan gave an evasive, "Gonzales-like" response to questions about his role in Bush's illegal surveillance program. Nevertheless, Ackerman was thoroughly impressed with the speech:

[It] was perhaps the most elegant articulation of a progressive approach to combating terrorism that I can remember hearing. Here's my wrap for the Washington Independent, which Holly Yeager and I headlined "Obama Aide Declares End To War On Terror," because Brennan did.

"Dignity and worth" as root-cause contributors to violent extremism! This would have been considered way too left-wing for mainstream discussion as recently as 2004. And the man saying them is now the president's assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security. He can walk into the Oval Office without an appointment. And he adjudicates counterterrorism-related disputes. Brennan could have done all the bad stuff everyone suspects him of doing and this would still be remarkable. Come to think of it, it's all the more remarkable that he said all this stuff if indeed he was involved in all this bad stuff. [...] This really was a red-letter day for the Obama Doctrine.

Marc offers some final thoughts on "what Brennan knew."