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White House Rebuffs GOP's Calls for Brennan's Resignation

FILE: Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan briefs reporters at the White House on Jan. 7, 2010, as Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano looks on. (REUTERS)

The White House Wednesday resisted calls by Republican lawmakers for President Obama's top counterterrorism aide, John Brennan, to step down.

Brennan, the deputy national security adviser who is under fire for the administration's handling of the arrest of Christmas Day bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdullmutallab, fanned the flames Tuesday when he wrote in an opinion article published in USA Today that the criticism he faced was politically motivated and was undermining national security. 

In response to the opinion article, Missouri Sen. Christopher Kit Bond, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged the White House aide to resign while his counterpart in the House, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, went even further and called on the administration to fire Brennan.

"That is totally irresponsible," the Michigan Republican told Fox News Wednesday in reference to Brennan's claim that the criticism is emboldening Al Qaeda.

"This guy is poisoning the well," he said. "I think the president probably should fire this guy because he's off base and inconsistent with how national security issues should be dealt with. The president needs to make the call." 

But the White House stood by Brennan.

"We regret Senator Bond's assault on Mr. Brennan, and urge everyone who has taken an oath to protect the country to resist the temptation to play politics on these very serious matters of national security," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a written statement.

"John Brennan has devoted his life to defeating terrorism and has served his country with courage and distinction through five administrations, Republican and Democrat," Shapiro added. "His dedication and expertise is extraordinarily important and valuable in these perilous times."

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