Huffpost Politics

Obama Taps Veteran Dems For Pentagon, State Handover

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Obama's brain trust continues to grow.

The president-elect has hired former Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sam Nunn to help shepherd his Pentagon transition and former Secretary of State Warren Christopher would advise Obama on his State Department transition, reports the Associated Press:

Nunn, a former Georgia senator and veteran Democratic defense adviser, was once rumored as a potential running mate for Obama. Transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Nunn will perform "an informal senior adviser role throughout the defense transition process."

Nunn's role has been described by others, speaking anonymously because the transition teams have not been announced, as the leader of Obama's defense transition. Similarly, a senior administration official said former Secretary of State Warren Christopher would advise Obama on his State Department transition...

Nunn and Christopher would be part of a national security brain trust for Obama that is heavy on former Clinton administration officials, including possible national security adviser James Steinberg, a former State Department official.

At the Pentagon, the large transition office would likely include former Clinton Navy Secretary Richard Danzig and former Clinton-era Pentagon comptroller Bill Lynn, officials said. The announcements are expected later this week...

Clinton Pentagon officials turned think tankers Michele Flournoy and Kurt Campbell are also mentioned as part of the Obama transition office at the Pentagon. Clinton-era State Department officials Wendy Sherman and Tom Donilon are mentioned in similar roles at State.

In addition, the Washington Post is reporting that the top intelligence officials in the Bush administration expect to be replaced despite recent speculation that Obama might keep them on to assure continuity in the department:

The nation's top two intelligence officers expect to be replaced by President-elect Barack Obama early in his administration, according to senior intelligence officials.

A number of influential congressional Democrats oppose keeping Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden in their posts because both have publicly supported controversial Bush administration policies on interrogation and telephone surveillance. One Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said there is a "consensus" view on the matter...

Both wish to remain on the job, officials say, though neither has said so publicly, and both think that their early departures could be seen as politicizing their offices and setting a precedent for automatic turnover when the White House changes hands. President Bush's decision to retain George J. Tenet, a Clinton appointee, as CIA director was seen inside the agency as a stabilizing move, after the CIA went through five directors in the 10 years following the Iran-contra affair...

John Brennan, head of the Obama intelligence transition team, is one of several names that have surfaced, including Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), as possible replacements for McConnell or Hayden. Brennan, a former top CIA official who helped establish the National Counterterrorism Center as part of the 2004 reforms, left the agency in 2005 to become chief executive of the Analysis Corp., a Virginia consulting firm with intelligence contracts. He advised the Obama campaign on national security.

Brennan's transition deputy, Jami A. Miscik, was CIA deputy director for intelligence before leaving for Lehman Brothers. Brennan and Miscik rose in the CIA ranks under Tenet and left when he was replaced by former congressman Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), Hayden's predecessor. Brennan and Miscik were first identified as intelligence transition team leaders by the Wall Street Journal.