John Brennan Decimates the Logic of Drone Program

John Brennan will be confirmed as CIA Director.

But along the way he has utterly decimated the drone program’s legitimacy.

Twice in his confirmation hearing, he insisted he was not a lawyer. Most notably, Carl Levin went to some length to try to get Brennan to admit waterboarding was torture. Brennan said that he thought it was reprehensible, but he repeatedly stopped short of saying it was torture because “I’m not a lawyer.” Over and over again, he is not a lawyer.

He is, however, almost certainly, the “informed, high-level official of the US government who [determines] that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.” That person not only determines whether capture would be “feasible” and what “imminent” means. But he decides whether killing the person would be “consistent with law of war principles.”

In other words, this man, who can’t (or refuses to) say whether waterboarding is torture because he is not a lawyer, is entrusted every Tuesday to make far more difficult legal decisions, both on the subjective feasible and imminent questions, but also on specific international laws.

In other words, according to the guy who has been acting as judge and jury for the last four years, the guy who has been acting as judge and jury is completely incompetent to act as judge and jury.

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bmaz Older people too RT @FDLaction The Massive Gap Between What Young People Wanted From Health Care Reform+What They Got http://t.co/cNJ5PJSlVA
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emptywheel @Atrios @ryangrim Maybe this is just a cry for help to get passed a joint?
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bmaz CDC Cracks Down on Labs (Guess that didn’t really happen after Amerithrax then huh? Go figure.) http://t.co/YQRDnUCttD via @NBCNews
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emptywheel @bartongellman Not that it answers question, but aren't there other references to them using PWs as identifiers? @georgemaschke @Paulmd199
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bmaz @MarkSZaidEsq @BradMossEsq @KimberlyDozier Okay, fair point. I was talking digitally tracking, but should have considered personal controls.
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emptywheel @NadiaKayyali Those moments are all so we understand enthusiasm he eliicts from others. Thomas & Alito haven't thought of that @sarahjeong
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emptywheel @CasparBowden What's the best summary of what is required and how it doesn't comply and/or why haven't you written it yet? ;p
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emptywheel @sarahjeong Maybe it's just the HLS indoctrination? You WILL be running the world soon, I tell you!
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emptywheel RT @brettmaxkaufman: incisive post from @alexanderabdo on the importance of notice in keeping government surveillance in check. https://t.c…
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bmaz RT @bartongellman: In which I reply to critics of our recent NSA story, fact-check a @CIA tweet and tell a MINIMIZED POTUS joke. http://t.c…
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