Washington (CNN) - Senators and other political figures reacted on Monday to President Barack Obama's nomination of John Brennan, currently his top counterterrorism and homeland security aide, as the next director of the CIA.
Most of the criticism was saved for former Sen. Chuck Hagel, whom Obama nominated for secretary of defense also on Monday.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who as chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee would oversee Brennan's confirmation hearings, said he has led a "distinguished career in intelligence and national security and is well-versed in all of the major security issues confronting the nation."
"Clearly, Mr. Brennan has the qualifications and expertise to be the next CIA Director," she said in a statement. "He has longstanding knowledge of the operations of this critical agency and also the strength to see that it follows the law. I believe he will be a strong and positive director."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, serves on the Intelligence Committee and offered Brennan praise, including for his "credibility with the men and women who serve us [at the CIA] in anonymity."
"He knows the counter-terror challenges we face, and I look forward to discussing with him the crucial legal, strategic, and oversight considerations pertaining to the CIA's counter-terror operations," he said. "I also look forward to discussing with him the lessons he has learned from the CIA's failures and problems in recent years, namely the faulty intelligence that led us to war in Iraq and the CIA's seriously flawed coercive interrogation program, which remains a stain on the CIA and our country to this day."
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, was an ex officio member of the Intelligence Committee and was ranking member of the Armed Services committee.
"I appreciate John Brennan's long record of service to our nation, but I have many questions and concerns about his nomination to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, especially what role he played in the so-called enhanced interrogation programs while serving at the CIA during the last administration, as well as his public defense of those programs," he said. "I plan to examine this aspect of Mr. Brennan's record very closely as I consider his nomination."
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, called Brennan a "superb choice" for the top CIA job.
"In his current position as deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John has been a strong advocate for and partner with the [intelligence community]," Clapper said. "He enjoys widespread respect across the community and throughout government. He is a colleague and a friend longstanding."
House members do not have a formal role in the confirmation process, but Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger - a Democrat from Maryland and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee - hailed Brennan as "well qualified to lead the agency."