President Obama has nominated counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, has served as Obama's top counterterrorism aide since 2009. If confirmed, he will fill the post left vacant by David Petraeus, who resigned in November after admitting to an extramarital affair.

"In John Brennan the men and women of the CIA will have the leadership of our nation's most skilled intelligence professionals," said Obama. ""That unique combination of smarts and strength that he claims comes from growing up in New Jersey." The audience laughed.

"People in the White House. But John is legendary in the White House even for working hard," said Obama, adding that he wasn't sure if Brennan had slept in four years.

The president recounted a story when a reporter on Martha's Vineyard, Mass. asked if Brennan had any downtime. "I don't do downtime," said Brennan, according to Obama.

Acting CIA Director Michael Morrell praised Brennan's "deep experience."

Brennan said, "Leading the agency that I served would be the greatest privilege, as well as the greatest responsibility, I have had in twenty-five years."

"I consider myself neither a Republican nor a Democrat," he said.

The Associated Press reports:

Brennan, 57, spent a quarter-century at the CIA. He served as station chief in Saudi Arabia and in a variety of posts, including deputy executive director, during the Bush administration.

His tenure at the agency during Bush's presidency drew criticism from liberals when Obama considered naming him CIA director after the 2008 election. Brennan denied being involved in what the government called "enhanced interrogation techniques" during the Bush administration, but still withdrew his name from consideration.

In a letter to Obama at the time, Brennan said he was "a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration, such as the pre-emptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding." Many people consider waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods to be torture.

White House officials say they don't expect Brennan to face similar trouble this time around given his four years of service in the Obama administration.

...

However, Brennan's nomination will likely put a spotlight on the administration's controversial drone program. Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge the highly secretive targeted killing operations.

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  • David Petraeus

    A highly decorated four-star Army general lauded for his leadership of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Petraeus moved into the civilian world to become CIA director in September 2011. He shocked official Washington on November 9, 2012 by admitting an extramarital affair with his biographer and resigning his spymaster post. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)

  • Paula Broadwell

    The other woman. An author and married mom of two young children, she was a West Point-educated Army reservist and graduate student when she met Petraeus at Harvard in 2006. She later embarked on a case study on his leadership of the Iraq War. After he took the helm in Afghanistan, Broadwell expanded her work into a biography, gaining unprecedented access to Petraeus and his commanders. It's called "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus." Their affair began in November 2011, a couple of months after he became CIA director, according to retired Army Col. Steve Boylan, a friend of the Petraeus family. It ended last summer, Boylan said. The relationship was exposed after Broadwell of Charlotte, N.C., sent emails to another woman, Jill Kelley, warning her to stay away from Petraeus, officials said. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)

  • Jill Kelley

    All threads in the story trace back to this Tampa, Fla., socialite. A surgeon's wife and mother of three children, Kelley is a sort of self-appointed social ambassador for the nearby U.S. Central Command and other officers at MacDill Air Force Base. The Kelleys opened their bayside home to lavish parties where military brass mingled with Tampa's elite. In this role, she befriended Petraeus and his wife, Holly, when he took over Central Command in October 2008. Kelley stayed in close contact with Petraeus after he left to take command of the Afghanistan war. They exchanged nearly daily emails in an account routinely monitored by his aides, according to two former staffers, who said those messages weren't romantic in tone. In May 2012, Kelley started getting anonymous, harassing emails warning her away from Petraeus. She reported the email to the FBI. The FBI traced the messages to Broadwell, uncovering her affair with Petraeus. The FBI notified Petraeus' boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who urged him to resign. And the FBI found something more. It unearthed "inappropriate communications" between Kelley and another top military officer, John Allen, according to Pentagon officials. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)

  • John Allen

    The four-star Marine general who followed in Petraeus' footsteps at Central Command and then as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is now following him into choppy waters. The Pentagon is investigating 20,000 pages of documents and emails involving Allen, who is married, and Kelley. Some of the communications were "flirtatious," according to a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the case publicly. Like Petraeus, Allen, 58, was part of the Tampa social circle; he moved up to acting commander when Petraeus left for Afghanistan. When Petraeus came home from Afghanistan, Allen moved into the top job there – his current post. President Barack Obama had nominated Allen to take over U.S. European Command and lead all NATO forces in Europe. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)

  • Natalie Khawam

    Kelley's twin sister also socialized with the two generals. Both Petraeus and Allen wrote letters lauding Khawam as a devoted mother to help her in a bitter child custody battle with her ex-husband. Earlier in that divorce case, Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz had criticized Khawam for a lack of honesty and "misrepresentations about virtually everything." (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)

  • Holly Petraeus

    Petraeus' wife of 38 years, mother of their two grown children, is in charge of service member assistance at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is a well-known advocate for military families. Mrs. Petraeus is said to be devastated by her husband's infidelity. "Furious would be an understatement," family friend Boylan told ABC's "Good Morning America." (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)

  • FBI Agent Frederick W. Humphries

    Humphries, 47, was the agent who initially saw the emails the FBI said Petraeus' biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell, sent to Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, a woman she apparently saw as a rival for Petraeus' affections. She also allegedly sent emails to Gen. John Allen, Kelley's friend and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Concerned about the emails, Kelley contacted Humphries in June. The two had met at a 2011 FBI Citizens Academy, a program aimed at teaching the public and journalists about what the agency does and how it operates. Kelley was in the class, which Humphries lectured one night about terrorism, according to Natalie Shepherd, a Tampa TV reporter who was there. Humphries, a former Army captain who worked in military intelligence, thought the emails raised serious concerns because the anonymous author knew the comings and goings of Allen and Petraeus, a former general who had preceded Allen in Afghanistan. His report back to the FBI started the investigation that led to Broadwell and uncovered her affair with Petraeus. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/frederick-humphries_n_2134203.html" target="_hplink">The Associated Press</a>)