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CIA Superstar on His Way Into Obama Administration; CNAS Occupation Continues

Two new Obama administration senior officials got sent up for nomination today: Phil Mudd, undersecretary-designate for intelligence at the Department of Homeland Security; and Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary-designate for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department.

Mudd is, as I wrote in October when I heard him speak at a conference, a real CIA luminary who served in a variety of counterterrorism and South Asia capacities since the 1980s. He has a pretty balanced view of where al-Qaeda stands now: ideologically a spent force, but metastacizing into something dangerous in Pakistan. Most recently he was at the FBI’s national security division, which gives him one of the most rounded-out national security backgrounds of anyone who’s come into or through DHS. (Well, him and Charlie Allen.) Along with former White House counterterrorism chief Rand Beers, who’s also nominated to be a DHS undersecretary, Mudd’s nomination is a pretty good sign that the department is shaping up as a power center.

Campbell is, with Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, a co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, which is the most powerful global affairs institution since the Trilateral Commission, except that one day it will come up with a plan for intergalactic exploration and conquest. I hear Andrew Exum is writing a paper about a population-centric-counterinsurgency approach for the Alpha Centaurions.

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