[. . .] Playing the bad cop role is traditional for a chief of staff, of course. But Brennan slid into so naturally, he reminded one former intelligence officer in retrospect of a famously crusty #2 from science fiction.
“Remember Col. Tigh from Battlestar Galactica? That’s who Brennan was. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way,” the officer says. “He’s a tough, hard-nosed bastard. He scared the shit out of people. I really liked him.”
To some degree, Brennan’s power comes at the expense of one of the national security officials who remains in place: Clapper. Like his predecessors, Clapper holds an uncertain bureaucratic hand: the director of national intelligence has poorly-defined legal authority over the various intelligence agencies and the $75 billion annual intelligence budget. Those authorities have also been weakened over time by turf battles: Clapper’s predecessor, Dennis Blair, resigned in 2010 after losing a struggle with then-CIA chief Leon Panetta over the right to appoint CIA station chiefs overseas. Clapper also reached his perch thanks to his ties to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, but Gates left the Pentagon in 2011. . .