The Seduction of John Brennan’s “Moral Rectitude”

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As has been floated over the last few days, Obama will reportedly appoint John Brennan CIA Director later today.

FWIW, having John Brennan in a position where he will be subject to Congressional oversight–rather than the oversight-free and more expansive position he’s in now–might not be an entirely bad thing. And after the DiFi-Jose Rodriguez smackdown, I’m not sad to see Morell get passed over, because I don’t think he has sufficient independence from people like Rodriguez.

Nevertheless, this appointment no doubt will lead to (already has) a bunch of people suggesting John Brennan will bring new order to the drone program.

I’m actually far more worried about Brennan’s control over other programs, particularly profiling Americans (though NCTC owns much of that task now). Remember, in addition to having ties to torture, Brennan was in charge of profiling for Dick Cheney’s illegal wiretap program. And he’s the guy who decided it’d be great to give the NCTC unfettered access to any federal database. This man loves data mining, and we should expect to see more of it from the CIA.

But I’m amused that people believe–based on anonymous claims by Brennan supporters–that he’ll bring order to the drone program. Such belief, it seems to me, overlooks Brennan’s actions in favor of anonymous comments.

Brennan was purportedly putting more order to the program. Until Mitt lost, and then he stalled that effort and broke what rules are said to govern the program.

Brennan was purportedly opposed to signature strikes. Until he approved them for use in Yemen.

Brennan has had control over all aspects of the drone program for 8 months. But the drone program is, if anything, accelerating again.

And remember, Brennan is a liar. A proven liar on this and a number of other issues. As well as a key instigator for the self-interested leaking the Administration would criminally punish coming from others. He spends a great deal of energy telling useful but not factually accurate stories to spin the Administration’s counterterrorism programs.

So I can’t help but think the people hailing his “moral rectitude” have been seduced by an old spook. Because every story that claims Brennan has some kind of higher ethics or a plan to put order to our out-of-control CT programs is either followed–or has the proof within itself–that the moral rectitude is the PR, whereas the embrace of unchecked power seems to be backed by his actions.

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6 Responses to The Seduction of John Brennan’s “Moral Rectitude”

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @JerryLMaine yeah, exactly.
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bmaz That's not very reassuring protocol for an perimeter area that the cops already abandoned because of no suspects https://t.co/4DX89f6eoQ
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bmaz So, on @CNN just now, they reported "law enforcement are going around with their guns drawn everywhere"... presumably around Fox Lake IL.
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bmaz Le Mans I love, but le.mon disturbs me greatly. https://t.co/6r8D6x2Ljm
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bmaz @dcbigjohn Just wait until Dylan Byers has injected the Lemon with extra honky Politicoed Hippity Hoppity. What giddy times are a coming.
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bmaz @JamesWolcott Heh, worthy goal. Details matter!
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bmaz The @NFL only "investigates" and hammers on success, not abject failure like the Washington Football Franchise. https://t.co/FHLdiAXlaN
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emptywheel @PogoWasRight You didn't mean Gawker notwithstanding? @jvagle @wendyck
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bmaz @MasaccioEW Short lived happiness, maybe, but I will take it!
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emptywheel @kombiz I hope you got him a toy to rip to shreds to make yourself more cognizant of the day...
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emptywheel @EricKleefeld Basically John Yoo has reinforced Exec's authority to tell Congress to fuck off on matters involving WMD.
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emptywheel @EricKleefeld Not clear. There's a John Yoo (!) OLC memo based on prior Iran-Contra Boland Amendment memo that says fuck it.
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