Former CIA director: Politicians should put country ahead of party, self

Former CIA director John Brennan kicks off 2018 Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture Series

SARASOTA — Former CIA director John Brennan drew enthusiastic applause at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Monday morning for advocating competency tests for politicians running for high office.

“I am concerned that too much is riding on the persona that one projects, or the reputation or the notoriety that somebody has,” said the 62-year-old intelligence boss under President Barack Obama from 2013-17.

“Maybe there’s a way to have a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for candidates so you can distinguish between those who talk a good game but are more about demogoguing than actually trying to do what is good for this country.”

In a wide-ranging address that kicked off the 2018 Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture Series, Brennan advocated a Manhattan Project-style program to plug the holes in America’s cybersecurity network, recalled the “nail-biter” scene in the White House as Navy SEALs cornered Osama bin Laden, and told the sold-out crowd to thank their Transportation Security Administration employees the next time they go through airport security.

“Terrorist groups, particularly like Al-Qaida and ISIS, have a fixation with aircraft and they’re determined to bring aircraft down over the United States. I was involved on many occasions where we were successful in thwarting those plots and plans,” thanks to TSA security said Brennan, without elaboration.

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