John Brennan Sworn in as CIA Director Using Constitution Lacking Bill of Rights

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 1.27.57 PMAccording to the White House, John Brennan was sworn in as CIA Director on a “first draft” of the Constitution including notations from George Washington, dating to 1787.

Vice President Joe Biden swears in CIA Director John Brennan in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 8, 2013. Members of Brennan’s family stand with him. Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution, dating from 1787, which has George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations on it.

That means, when Brennan vowed to protect and defend the Constitution, he was swearing on one that did not include the First, Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments — or any of the other Amendments now included in our Constitution. The Bill of Rights did not become part of our Constitution until 1791, 4 years after the Constitution that Brennan took his oath on.

I really don’t mean to be an asshole about this. But these vows always carry a great deal of symbolism. And whether he meant to invoke this symbolism or not, the moment at which Brennan took over the CIA happened to exclude (in symbolic form, though presumably not legally) the key limits on governmental power that protect American citizens.

Update: Olivier Knox describes how the White House pushed the symbolism of this.

Hours after CIA Director John Brennan took the oath of office – behind closed doors, far away from the press, perhaps befitting his status as America’s top spy – the White House took pains to emphasize the symbolism of the ceremony.

“There’s one piece of this that I wanted to note for you,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters gathered for their daily briefing. “Director Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution that had George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations on it, dating from 1787.”

Earnest said Brennan had asked for a document from the National Archives that would demonstrate the U.S. is a nation of laws.

“Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA,” Earnest said.

Update: I’m assuming this copy of the Constitution is the one Brennan used.

Tweet about this on Twitter789Share on Reddit20Share on Facebook2890Google+123Email to someone

136 Responses to John Brennan Sworn in as CIA Director Using Constitution Lacking Bill of Rights

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38
  • 39
  • 40
  • 41
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 45
  • 46
  • 47
  • 48
  • 49
  • 50
  • 51
  • 52
  • 53
  • 54
  • 55
  • 56
  • 57
  • 58
  • 59
  • 60
  • 61
  • 62
  • 63
  • 64
  • 65
  • 66
  • 67
  • 68
  • 69
  • 70
  • 71
  • 72
  • 73
  • 74
  • 75
  • 76
  • 77
  • 78
  • 79
  • 80
  • 81
  • 82
  • 83
  • 84
  • 85
  • 86
  • 87
  • 88
  • 89
  • 90
  • 91
  • 92
  • 93
  • 94
  • 95
  • 96
  • 97
  • 98
  • 99
  • 100
  • 101
  • 102
  • 103
  • 104
  • 105
  • 106
  • 107
  • 108
  • 109
  • 110
  • 111
  • 112
  • 113
  • 114
  • 115
  • 116
  • 117
  • 118
  • 119
  • 120
  • 121
  • 122
  • 123
  • 124
  • 125
  • 126
  • 127
  • 128
  • 129
  • 130
  • 131
  • 132
  • 133
  • 134
  • 135
  • 136

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz The NCAA quietly proposed a major structural reform yesterday. It's still horrid and here's why: http://t.co/kRKTgn5FDF
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Did Northwestern Unionizing Just Cause Real NCAA Reform? No, Not At All http://t.co/kRKTgn5FDF
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @SpyTalker: More on "Murder in Juarez" http://t.co/DNdOQl1ei2
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @MonaHol Little known fact: my wife and I went as Al and Peg Bundy one Halloween. Pretty funny.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @MonaHol This is true!
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @yeselson Me too. Also shove on the hip during the shot.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Tough blocking call in that situation, looks like a bad call.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ericisbeautiful Yes. And for all his reputation, it's about time he came thru in playoff clutch situation.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@misterdevans No question. And Cliven Bundy is a pernicious and racist dolt at that. But he didn't murder 30 young girls like Ted Bundy.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @Olivianuzzi: Kelly Bundy > Ted Bundy > Cliven Bundy http://t.co/nuxmNUhT8p @thedailybeast
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Listen, Cliven Bundy is a horrible human being, granted; but if you are cute tweeting that he's worse than Ted Bundy, just get out.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @BradMossEsq I have seen approximately none in the jurisdictions I practice in.
3hreplyretweetfavorite