Assuming John Brennan is confirmed to lead the CIA, the next question is who will replace him as President Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor? If we’re just reading tea leaves, it sounds like long-time counterterrorism aide and Department of Homeland Security official Rand Beers may be a possibility.
The DHS is touting in a press release that Beers just led a delegation to Sana’a, Yemen yesterday. It’s interesting timing, considering Yemen has been Brennan’s major focus since 2009:
SANA’A, Yemen— U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate and DHS Counterterrorism Coordinator Rand Beers led a DHS delegation to Sana’a, Yemen on January 7-8 to meet with counterparts to discuss strengthening the Department’s collaboration with the Government of Yemen on a variety of trade, civil aviation, and border security issues. This visit builds on the recent meeting between Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in September 2012.
“The United States has a profound interest in advancing Yemen’s security and prosperity,” said Under Secretary Beers. “By enhancing collaboration with the Government of Yemen, we reaffirm our commitment to more effectively secure our two countries against evolving threats and improve the trade and investment climate in Yemen.”
Beers has served in Republican and Democratic administrations, but he’s not exactly embraced by the left or the right. He resigned from Bush’s National Security Council in protest of the Iraq war and joined the Kerry campaign. He also made offensive comments about John McCain’s time in a POW camp. Normally that might win him points with progressives, but Beers also led Plan Colombia, a Clinton-era operation that the left (and libertarians) have attacked as the “militarization” of the drug war. But Obama wouldn’t have to worry about getting a confirmation, so outside objections would be less of a factor.