Brennan seemed to believe (as a graduate student) that government power and censorship was necessary to achieve stability.
In 1980, a 25-year old graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin wrote a master’s thesis called “Human rights, a case study of Egypt.” In it, he argued that the aim of achieving and maintaining political stability justifies human rights violations by apprehensive governments— including crackdowns on unbridled journalists:
Since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses, I am in favor of some degree of government censorship. Inflamatory [sic] articles can provoke mass opposition and possible violence.
Why should we care what a 25-year old grad student wrote over 30 years ago? Because that student grew up to be John Brennan—recently appointed director of the CIA. And because the theory he outlined in his master’s thesis seems to have shaped his attitude toward the exercise of power since then.