2012 Rank: 4
Director, Central Intelligence Agency
When Obama sent Brennan to Langley to head the CIA, he was doing more than showing his preference for longtime members of his hard-to-penetrate inner circle. Brennan, previously the White House’s top counterterrorism official, was uniquely qualified for the job. As the CT adviser, Brennan ran the clandestine effort to kill suspected terrorists with CIA-operated Predator UAVs. Denounced by the Democrats’ liberal wing as immoral and illegal, the campaign nevertheless damaged al-Qaida’s core leadership in Pakistan, earning Brennan significant sway. Now the head of the CIA, Brennan has said he wants to hand the armed UAV program to the Pentagon, and return the agency to its traditional functions of gathering intelligence and providing analysis to decision-makers.
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