Controversial former CIA counterterrorism head backs Hans Tanzler in CD 4 race

Hans Tanzler

On Tuesday, the campaign of Hans Tanzler, Republican running for the nomination in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, got a key endorsement: former Central Intelligence Agency Director of Counterterrorism Jose Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, a University of Florida graduate who will also be advising Tanzler on national security policy, was chief of staff of the Counterterrorism Center immediately after 9/11, and was promoted to the director position the following year.

He presided over an expansion of the counterterrorism center, combating Al Qaeda in that role, serving in the CIA throughout the George W. Bush administration.

His tenure was not without controversy.

Critics at the time and afterwards have asserted that Rodriguez overstepped boundaries in interrogation of terrorist suspects, then destroyed evidence. This decision was authorized by former CIA head Porter Goss.

“We knew we needed the information. We needed to find a new way to do this and the rest is history,” Rodriguez said.

Regarding Tanzler, Rodriguez had this to say:

“Hans Tanzler is the candidate in this race who is most prepared to lead the effort in Congress to stop terrorism,” said Rodriguez. “His experiences as a prosecutor and in the private sector at the helm of businesses facing significant challenges that he was able to turn around make him uniquely qualified to quickly assess our national security challenges and take action to confront them effectively.”

Tanzler’s endorsement announcement seems timed to counter a John Rutherford ad, released Tuesday, in which he talks about his experience in anti-terror operations as Jacksonville Sheriff from 2003 to 2015.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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