Frank Babb

Author & Adventurer

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Petraeus’ successor as CIA director

In an earlier posting I discussed the militarization of the CIA and the expansion of its mission to diplomatic matters, both of which I am uncomfortable with. Although John Brennan, the president’s choice for new director of the CIA and currently the president’s chief counterintelligence advisor, is not a military officer, his experience for many years at the “Company” has involved military solutions (most recently drone strikes) to our counterterrorism campaigns.

I am proud of our military forces; I am proud of my military service during the Korean War era. I understand why our country has moved toward military solutions to the many complicated problems we face in the world today. Don’t we have almost 50% of the military forces in the world today? Aren’t we the largest manufacturer of military products in the world? Isn’t it easier in the context of foreign relations to shot an opponent than to talk with them? President Eisenhower warned us of the military/industrial complex in the 50s. But my point is that the president needs an independent collector of intelligence information and a strong State Department to assist  him in properly utilizing our military forces.

I am glad that members of the Congress and Senate (both sides of the aisle) are raising these questions concerning Mr. Brennan, a fine career employee of the CIA. To understand the strengths and weakness of the military, it’s helpful to have served in it. Too bad so many elected officials (the president included) haven’t had that opportunity. It would provide them with useful insights into that institution.

4 Responses to Petraeus’ successor as CIA director

  • Donna Lam says:

    My former father-in-law, a member of the West Point class “the stars fell on,” felt such a need to remain apolitical during his long military career that he once confessed to me that he had never voted in a presidential election. Thus, no one could ever question his loyalty to the current commander-in-chief. I thought that was a bit extreme at the time, but perhaps he was right. How times have changed!

    • Frank Babb says:


      Whether his position was extreme or quaint, he represented an era when many persons valued their personal integrity more than “anything’s okay” for personal advancement.


  • Jordan Nerenberg says:

    Frank, let me suggest another thought on the Petraeus affair. As you discussed, as an intelligence professional why would he be so careless to use an open e mail address? If you recall Elliot Sptizer was very discreet in planning his liasons, using his own funds, a special phone, travel on pre-arranged business trips. Clinton had always been relatively open about his sexual proclivities as they had been well documented before he reached the White House. Is it possible tha Petraeus on some very deep psycological level wanted to be discovered? Some way to escape? Probably a little too Fredian but think about it.

    • Frank Babb says:

      A very interesting idea and one I haven’t seen raised elsewhere. I never got past Psychology 101, but I have read in non-professional sources that we do betray ourselves sometimes from conscious or unconscious guilt. Until I saw your grouping of them together, the trio you mention are all intelligent, ambitious, and successful men who may have gone farther in life than their respective psyches would permit them to go.Their guilt may not be about their sexual escapades but their “undeserved” successes. Might we also add the Frenchman cum president of France who blew his chances by his encounter in New York City with a hotel maid?


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I'm Frank Babb, author, traveler, and adventurer. I look forward to connecting with you!

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