The Perils of Giving John Brennan Unchecked Power

Before you read this post, go read this Glenn Greenwald one highlighting an Eli Lake interview with John Brennan. Lake reports John Brennan describing “dozens” of Americans against whom the US will bring the full brunt of its power.

“There are, in my mind, dozens of U.S. persons who are in different parts of the world, and they are very concerning to us,” said John O. Brennan, deputy White House national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism.


“If a person is a U.S. citizen, and he is on the battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq trying to attack our troops, he will face the full brunt of the U.S. military response,” Mr. Brennan said. “If an American person or citizen is in a Yemen or in a Pakistan or in Somalia or another place, and they are trying to carry out attacks against U.S. interests, they also will face the full brunt of a U.S. response. And it can take many forms.”

Glenn points out the number (we previously knew only that three Americans were targeted), the global scope of this, and the continuity Brennan claims with Bush’s counter-terrorism.

But I’d like to focus on John Brennan himself.

Brennan asserts that the Obama Administration is largely building on the Bush Administration counterterrorism policy.

“There has been a lot of continuity of effort here from the previous administration to this one,” he said. “There are some important distinctions, but sometimes there is too much made of those distinctions. We are building upon some of the good foundational work that has been done.”

Glenn notes that this assertion is all the more notable since Brennan was, after all, a top Bush counterterrorism official. Brennan is saying there’s continuity between what he did under Bush and what he’s doing now.

So let’s recall the reason John Brennan is even able to rejoin government after having worked in the Bush Administration and then profited in the Intelligence Industrial Complex for a few years: retroactive immunity.

Brennan was in charge of picking the Americans George Bush would illegally wiretap–including during the period after March 11, 2004, when Bush reauthorized the illegal wiretap program in spite of the fact that DOJ had told him there was no legal basis for it. Brennan was directly involved in illegally wiretapping Americans (though he likely did not know that the entire program was even more illegal at that point than previously). And lo and behold, about the time that Brennan assumed a significant role on candidate Obama’s team, Obama flip-flopped on retroactive immunity, pretty much ensuring that Bush’s–and Brennan’s–would never receive real scrutiny.

Would John Brennan be Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor right now if Americans knew the full extent of his role in targeting Americans for illegal wiretapping?

This is the guy, then, boasting that we’ve got not three, but dozens, of Americans against whom we intend to bring the full brunt of the US military. A guy who was previously involved (possibly unknowingly) in wiretapping Americans without the requisite legal review.

And while we’re speaking of legal review, note this sleight of hand Lake pulls off:

Mr. Brennan also said that the U.S. law enforcement community has the means to monitor Web forums affiliated with al Qaeda that have in the past proven to be a gateway for recruitment into the terrorist organization.

But he also said that any investigations or monitoring of such sites needed to first pass a threshold of probable cause.

“There needs to be some type of predicate or premise for there to be reasonable suspicion that someone is engaged in activity that is unlawful,” he said. “The mere engagement in political speech, even if it is radical, is not in itself a cause for investigation.”

Now, we’re talking monitoring of websites, not targeting with the “full brunt” of US power. Nevertheless, Lake claims that Brennan limits such monitoring to cases where there is “probable cause.” That’s not what Brennan said: he said “reasonable suspicion.”

The difference is a legal distinction that has been at the core of the expansion of surveillance powers since 9/11. The government doesn’t even show reasonable, individualized suspicion. Rather, it often needs to show only some “reasonable” theory to justify doing things like monitoring websites, presumably in bulk, without individualized suspicion.

Mind you, as skeptical as I am of the review they’re using before they target Americans with the “full brunt” of US power anywhere in the world, I trust they’re using a higher standard than reasonable suspicion.

But the point is that the guy at the center of this targeting with no due process–the guy boasting of lethally targeting dozens of Americans to Eli Lake–is also one of the guys who was at the center of Bush’s surveillance targeting with no due process. No one reasonable now doubts that that earlier counterterrorism effort was blatantly illegal, though thanks to Obama, Brennan has been shielded from any consequences for his participation.

If the guy illegally targeted Americans in the past, we ought to be doubly suspicious of the basis with which he’s lethally targeting these Americans now.

59 replies
  1. DWBartoo says:

    EW, you are not seriously surprised that a man such as Brennan is in the “position” which he occupies, given what you are daily discussing.

    Most Americans would be seriously shocked to grasp the significance of and the perspective around the history which you have so carefully and completely laid out over some considerable time.

    Of course, most Americans do not have a clue, as yet, regarding the extent to which America has damaged itself in so very many ways.

    The rate at which this damage is “occurring” is clearly accelerating, again, no surprise to yourself.

    Perhaps the greatest surprise is that so little effort is wasted in hiding, even rhetorically, what is going on, in plain sight, even more blatantly than in recent years … the manners to which we are all becoming accustomed.


  2. shaw53 says:

    Mission creep. Like a drip that turns into a gusher. As I read of Obamas lovefest w/the security state and his easy continuity w/Bushs lovefest w/the security state I wonder, who is the Boss? The permanent Security State Complex seems to run the show as a metastisizing bureaucratic cancer.

    Was it John Dean who said it takes only a few months for a new president to be co-opted by this cancer?

    I live on the border with Canada near a busy crossing… I can tell you the increase in Homeland Security and surveillance activities is big and getting bigger, even though theres no evidence of anything more than the usual drug traffic. Choppers, ICE, Border Patrol, big black SUVs.

    With so much money and paranoia pouring into the already huge security state, terrorist sympathizers will popping up on the apparchiks radar screens everywhere.

    Not unlike the counter-revolutionaries so amazingly everywhere in Stalins Soviet Union. (see Gulag Archipelago)

    • harpie says:

      Was it John Dean who said it takes only a few months for a new president to be co-opted by this cancer?

      I think so:

      The Politics of Excusing Torture In The Name of National Security; John Dean; 5/15/09

      On average, it takes about 100 days for the great Executive Branch bureaucracy to begin to work its way and will on the new officials, and that threshold has now been crossed. If anyone believes a rookie president and his new team can take over the executive branch, and actually run it without the cooperation of the permanent people, those who remain in place as presidents and their appointees come and go, he or she does not understand how Washington really works. Political appointees come and go, but the folks who actually run the government have an ongoing agenda of trying not to let these part-time political people screw it up too badly. Nowhere are there more of these permanent career professionals than in the departments and agencies that constitute the national security community.

  3. BoxTurtle says:

    I thought Obama could only do one thing at at time. I was wrong, he can be judge, jury, and executioner all at once.

    Why are wasting all these tax dollars on a judicial system if we’re not going to use it? After all, if you target an American, you should at least be able to get an arrest warrent from an American court.

    Boxturtle (Shot while resisting arrest is an American tradition)

    • harpie says:

      I thought Obama could only do one thing at at time. I was wrong, he can be judge, jury, and executioner all at once.

      The Executive can do this because the Legislature [and sometimes even the Judiciary?] has ceded it’s Constitutional duties in some things. In other things, as detailed by powwow in this post about the ACORN suit:
      Congress has tried to be judge, jury and executioner [punisher]. Will the Judiciary let them get away with it?

      Things are seriously out of balance.

  4. phred says:

    Funny how probable cause and reasonable suspicion only apply to the little/lesser/smaller people.

    If you are a big/greater/larger person, you are free to act above and beyond the reach of the law with total impunity.

    Somehow having a criminal making decisions about the fate of others using a distorted legal framework made up in secret, doesn’t give me the warm fuzzy feeling of a safe and secure nation that it is supposed to.

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    doesn’t give me the warm fuzzy feeling of a safe and secure nation that it is supposed to

    Thats because you don’t understand 11 dimensional math! See, these rules will never be applied to Real Americans. Only the Enemies of Freedom and And All That is Right need fear missles in the dark.

    The scary part is how many people believe that and are fine with it.

    Boxturtle (Tinfoil! Gitchyer Tinfoil hats here! Aluminium foil don’t work, ya know)

    • phred says:

      Very true. I’m a four dimensional sort (x, y, z, and t ; )

      If only I had a better grasp of the space-time continuum, worm holes, jumping through hyperspace, and warp drive — then I’m sure all would make sense to me ; )

    • Mary says:

      11 dimensional math

      I believe the technical term is “11ty dimensional math”

      So you have Obamaco continuing Bush programs; Petraeus continuing Obamaco/McChrystal stratgey; and now Kagan to the SUpreme Court to soldify things like the material support crap taht Obamaco hasn’t just continued, but has taken from churning in stomach acids to a finished product.

      From the Rolling Stones article – Obamaco as Bushco jumps out as well.

      “There is no denying the progress that the Afghan people have made in recent years – in education, in health care and economic development,” the president says. “As I saw in the lights across Kabul when I landed – lights that would not have been visible just a few years earlier.”
      It is a disconcerting observation for Obama to make. During the worst years in Iraq, when the Bush administration had no real progress to point to, officials used to offer up the exact same evidence of success. “It was one of our first impressions,” one GOP official said in 2006, after landing in Baghdad at the height of the sectarian violence. “So many lights shining brightly.” So it is to the language of the Iraq War that the Obama administration has turned – talk of progress, of city lights, of metrics like health care and education. Rhetoric that just a few years ago they would have mocked

  6. bobschacht says:

    Thanks for reporting on this. I still hope that some day we can get our country back. I mean, the country that had Constitutional separation of powers, a Judiciary that had more respect for the Constitution than for the Power Elite, and a Congress that actually conducted serious oversight.

    Bob in AZ

  7. MadDog says:

    …Now, we’re talking monitoring of websites, not targeting with the “full brunt” of US power. Nevertheless, Lake claims that Brennan limits such monitoring to cases where there is “probable cause.” That’s not what Brennan said: he said “reasonable suspicion.”

    Actually, it’s even far worse than that. Brennan said:

    …”There needs to be some type of predicate or premise for there to be reasonable suspicion that someone is engaged in activity that is unlawful,” he said. “The mere engagement in political speech, even if it is radical, is not in itself a cause for investigation…”

    (My Bold)

    The construction of that sentence makes clear to me that merely “some type of predicate or premise” is all there needs to be for investigation and monitoring.

    In other words, if anyone in the US government can even imagine “any” predicate or premise, no matter how bizarre or crazy, then investigation and monitoring is acceptable.

    For a simple example of such a predicate or premise, consider:

    “Andrew’s name begins with ‘A’. So does Al Qaeda. Therefore Andrew must be associated with Al Qaeda.”

  8. Mary says:

    Would John Brennan be Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor right now if Americans knew the full extent of his role in targeting Americans for illegal wiretapping?

    You might almost wonder if Obama would be President if American’s knew the full extent of the Brennan/CIA roles in violating the Constitution and laws of the nation. Or if several other members of Congress would be there as well. I have a hard time believing that the league of rapists, kidnappers and torturers that the CIA chose to become would – as they were looking at possible consequences and the many skeletons in the closets that our politicians come equipped with – just scrupulously avoid accumulating information to help themselves and their pals out – not just on the criminal front but also while they were at it on the financial front.

    To look at a gang of torturers who didn’t flinch at disappearing children and torture and forcible sodomy and psych experimentation and then tossing people they knew were innocent in black holes and going out to five star restaurants while they planned propaganda as the basis for creating thousands and thousands of dead, and millions of refugees – to look at them and think they would be paragons of self restraint when it came to putting together files that would protect them is a hard thing to do.

    Oh well – definitionly, Brennanco can’t be proceeding on probable cause, bc that is a determination made by an independent magistrate and described in an issued warrant.

    It’s intersting to watch the Silence of the FISCt, too, as it becomes more and more clear that they aren’t just ok’ing covert surveillance to be used for counterintelligence purposes – they are pretty much de facto blessing assassinations.

    • Fractal says:

      It’s interesting to watch the Silence of the FISCt, too, as it becomes more and more clear that they aren’t just ok’ing covert surveillance to be used for counterintelligence purposes – they are pretty much de facto blessing assassinations.

      As usual I only got around to reading these very interesting comments late in the day. But does anyone else think it’s weird that the District Judge who ruled on the motion to enjoin the oil drilling moratorium also sits on the FISA Court? Is appointment to the FISA Court random or not?

        • phred says:

          bmaz, do you know how many appointments Roberts has made to the FISC? I assume he only fills vacancies (as opposed to across the board replacements when he became Chief Justice). I’m just curious how much influence Roberts has had on that court to date.

          • bmaz says:

            I think almost all of them are Roberts appointees by now; might be a couple still left over from Rehnquist, but that would be about it.

            • phred says:

              Well then, I won’t expect to hear much out of them until there is a new Chief Justice.

              Admittedly, the Rehnquist appointees did not disapprove many requests, but at least a couple of them complained back when there were still people in DC who thought BushCo was getting out of hand. But now with ObamaCo, there are few such people left there.

  9. TarheelDem says:

    Would John Brennan be Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor right now if Americans knew the full extent of his role in targeting Americans for illegal wiretapping?

    Yes, he would. Most Americans do not understand that all communications are being swept up in the electronic dragnet. They think it’s just the bad guys who are being wiretapped. They would cheer him for taking it to the bad guys and not being hamstrung by the niceties of the law. Thank you, Jack Bauer.

      • TarheelDem says:

        Too literal-minded to catch snark, aren’t you.

        The point remains. Most Americans think that they are not in danger; they are good law abiding citizens. Which really misses the Constitutional point, doesn’t it.

        • PJEvans says:

          I believe that they do listen to us, and have been for years.
          Or did you miss those remarks when Shrub and Darth were running the country?

    • bmaz says:

      Blaming one iota of this on a stupid teevee show is one of the lamest things i have ever seen out of the people on the so called progressive left. If your memory is so short that you cannot remember all the escapist action adventure movies and tv shows that have been in existence since movies and teevee were invented, all of which had some or all of the same elements of 24, then you experience base for evenmaking such a comment is lacking in the first place. It is not 24 that has done diddly shit, it is the politicians and media in this country and the people in this country including you and me, that elect and feed them, that have created what we have today. Puttin even one iota on a television show is a craven cop out for the personal responsibility that resides in all of us collectively.

      • JTMinIA says:

        My monitor is certified Energy-Star, not anger-star. You owe me a new one.

        With that said, I agree.

    • onitgoes says:

      Agree. Most US citizens are clueless about these issues; utterly clueless. And if an attempt is made to explain it, the usual answers are flung back: we neeeeeeeed this to proteeeeect us from eeeevul trrrrsts, and if YOU (you dfh) had nothing to HIDE, then you would support these wonderful beings of light who are only running these secret spy programs to protect us.

      And so: on it goes.

      Thanks for the post and the update. On some levels, this isn’t really all that new; I do believe some element of this type of activity has gone on either forever or at least for last century or so. More money is being poured into it; the equipment has become much more high tech (and can be much more invasive than ever before). just a lot of refinements to a system already in place.

      But one has to be out to lunch to feel “secure” or to believe that the govt (whomever happens to be “in power”) has citizens best interests in mind or at heart. Emphatically: it does not. Be aware.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “You do not have authority to kill her.”
    “Oh yes I do! And you had better get on board.”
    “Noah, she’s one of us. You start down this path, where does it end?”
    “It ends when we’ve won.”

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Brennan the superspy is foaming at the mouth in public with a reporter, and we’re supposed to believe he does this on his own, with no official approval or plan? If Brennan were a whistleblower and said these things to out and stop them, and to encourage prosecution of those involved, the FBI would be all over him.

    It seems more likely that Brennan’s interview is part of the normalization process criminals go through to rationalize their behavior, to make it seem reasonable, to deprive it of the sanctions society would normally impose on it, indeed, to encourage others to adopt and support it.

    Sadly, that seems to be the defining characteristic of the Obama administration. It is change, but not change we or anyone else should believe in.

  12. Frank33 says:

    We are so fortunate that DAVID KRIS is Assistant Attorney General for National Security U.S. Department of Justice. Kris is a moderate, but not all in the secret government are so moderate as he. Some just want to make all terrorists targets for unmanned armed drones. Kris thinks that we need a balanced approach, sometimes allowing the legal system, sometimes, drones.

    Kris’ job is spying on DOJ and keeping all the secrets concerning the common criminals of Al Qaeda. Kris does not think they are common. Kris also catapults the mythology of the Global War On Terrorism.

    there are some who say today that law enforcement can’t or shouldn’t be used for counterterrorism. They appear to believe that we should treat all terrorists exclusively as targets for other — that is, non-FBI — elements of the intelligence community or for the Defense Department. And, I mean, I don’t want to oversimplify, but here as I understand it is the argument that is advanced, and it sort of comes in three parts:

    First, we are at war. This is not a game. This is not some police action. It’s
    a war.

    Second, our enemies in this war are lethal, intelligent, and adaptable. They are not common criminals. They did not just rob the corner liquor store.

    And third, because we are at war and because our enemy in the war is not a bunch of common criminals, we should fight the enemy using military and intelligence methods and not law enforcement method

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Except that these are criminal acts, not acts of war; the entire world is not a battlefield bereft of all laws except “might makes right”; and rules and limits are what keep the ambitions of those in government from acting as heinously as those government fights in our name.

      Criminal polluters ruin millions of lives and take hundreds or thousands of them. Criminal financial and corporate players do the same on Wall Street and in board rooms, yet they have the benefits of the law to the nth degree, and the best lawyers in the world who defend them are not threatened with material support charges for doing so.

      No one can be at war with a tactic, but we can be at war with ourselves.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Brennan’s interview is also an example of how to acquire power by accretion. By acknowledging the outrageous act openly, publicly, notoriously, it becomes fixed and stable, as if it were mud and waste fixed into the sediment of an expanding delta that permanently changes a watercourse. When Cheney did this during his administration, when Bush did it in his post-administration $150,000 “speaking” engagements, we cringed and shouted.

    As Glenn and Marcy ask, what will we do in response to admissions of guilt such as this? I hope the reaction is a little less credulous than the kind of thing that often accompanies disclosure of heinous acts by those we accept as having authority over us: “Hush, you thoughtless child. Do you want to go to hell or get our priest in trouble? If he touched you, he was doing God’s work.”

  14. Jeff Kaye says:

    Let us not forget, too, that Mr. Brennan was chief of staff to George Tenet, becoming then Deputy Executive Director of the CIA. He also directed the National Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2005. In other words, this person is directly implicated in the torture war crimes of the Bush years, only the degree of his involvement awaits full investigations — an investigation opposed by the very administration to which he currently belongs!

    Here’s Brennan trying to pose as the reasonable voice of the “dark side,” in a PBS Frontline interiew, 3/8/06 (bold emphasis added):

    Why would the vice president, and even the secretary of defense, want to talk about or have the country or want to warn the country about going to “the dark side”?

    I don’t know. You’d have to ask them. … The point is the war or the campaign against terrorism can be a long one, and that the opposition, whether it be Al Qaeda, or whether it be Iraq, doesn’t play by the Marquis de Queensbury rules. Therefore, the U.S. in some areas has to take off the gloves. And I think that’s entirely appropriate. I think we do have to take off the gloves in some areas, but within balance, and at the right time and the right way, and for the right reason and with full understanding of what the consequences of that might be.

  15. JTMinIA says:

    EW –

    Have you received a sternly-worded letter or something? Because those parenthetical softeners – e.g., “(possibly unknowingly)” – don’t seem like your usual style.

    • emptywheel says:

      I have no proof he knew of the hospital confrontation. And given all the proof that Cheney compartmented it–and key details about it–I have no reason to claim that someone in CIA knew about hte debates going on in DOJ.

  16. BoxTurtle says:

    Therefore, the U.S. in some areas has to take off the gloves.

    I hate euphemisms. Why can’t we just say extreme prejudice?

    I’ve been thinking about this policy and it’s clear to me that we’re not going far enough. If we put the “gloves off” policy into domestic use, the benefits could be staggering.

    First, the entire prosecutors office can simply go away. We’re persecuting, not prosecuting. Ditto the public defenders office, but that was always underfunded anyway.

    Most prisons and jails can simply go away as well, since we “glove” on suspection alone. We’re need to keep a few “club fed” type prisons to keep any MOTU’s who anger the masses too much and must be “punished”.

    If we combine with the obvious benefits of deregulation, I can make a case that the entire criminal courts system can simply go away. We’ll need to keep the civil system, in case an MOTU needs to sue one of the little folk.

    And those are just the big savings. We don’t need to pay for cages in police cars. We can do all the weapons training we need with a few surplus gameboys.

    Boxturtle (And we can spend the money we save on the war on drugs!)

  17. Mary says:

    I can’t top Chicken Heart.

    I can only live in hopes that it’s never made into a miniseries, since the Bush/Obama/Jack Bauer approach to national security is to believe that everything they see on TV is reality.

    I guess this is an OT, but it’s an outer part of the swirly-circle.

    A little bitty article on US/UK/Can intel sharing stemming back to WWII, which mentions that in 2005, the US got so pissed at the Canadian investigation of Maher Arar’s torture they cut off intel sharing with Canada.

    Feeling safer?

    Bc, of course, it made American safer to cut off intel sharing with Canada. Right? /s

    • skdadl says:

      Bc, of course, it made American safer to cut off intel sharing with Canada. Right? /s

      Then again …

      If you knew CSIS
      Like we know CSIS
      Oh, oh, oh they’re such clowns …

      But I guess your guys are too.

  18. Mary says:

    BTW – so Brennan thinks US citizenship and location in the US isn’t enough to interfere with assassinations? That’s how I read this:

    “To me, terrorists should not be able to hide behind their passports and their citizenship, and that includes U.S. citizens, whether they are overseas or whether they are here in the United States.”

    No one bothers to ask him if, by terrorist, he means Dilawar, Maher Arar, Chef Errachidi, Khalid el-Masri, Maryam Siddiqui …

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think he means “criminals”, not terrorists, shouldn’t be able to “hide” behind their passports or their Constitution. Which really means alleged criminals or terrorists. Which really means anybody, since this and the predecessor government haven’t done a very good job at actually catching the real worst of the worst. The dialogue could come out of any of a dozen characters on 24, Law & Order, or CSI.

      Oughtn’t we to hear Attorney General Holder qualify these remarks, or at least hear that there was fierce internal debate before our constitutional lawyer president and his HLS buddies in and outside government made what Brennan describes to be official US policy?

      • Mary says:

        I’ll be damned if I didn’t almost do strike throughs for terrorists/criminals and passports/Constitution, although, once he clarified he meant right here in These United States, well, I guess he’s thinking along the lines of issuing passports to Americans IN America too, a la Mr. Arizonan.

        I’m not geared up for *hearing* any more voices today. Much as I love Dahlia Lithwick, I got a little ill when I went to go through the Slate round table on the Sup Ct decisions and discovered she and Walter Dillinger had decided to draw Paul Clement into the conversation.

        When the guy who lies to the Sup Ct about torture gets to coo and simper over the newer rulings just like he wasn’t involved in the Bush torturehouse, – I lose my interest in speculating on what other voices, like Holder’s, are going to do. Or not do.

  19. b2020 says:

    “I trust they’re using a higher standard than reasonable suspicion.”

    You do? I thought that these days, drone attacks are approved based on circumstancial “data mining” and “life patterns”, and that for non US citizens off the actual (not “global”) battlefield we are talking all out war to “thin out” the “rank and file”. I guess they are finally running out of lieutenants?

    So when Brennan casually tosses of “dozens” mere weeks after this site carried articles discussing the difference between three on the CIA list vs. 4 on the JSOC list – or was it the other way round? – you “trust”?

    I wouldn’t trust this crew to have any restraint whatsoever, let along have their shit together. To borrow a phrase from Talleyrand, the working hypothesis about a US administration is that they are worse than criminals, they are just plain stupid – to the extent they care about policy at all.

    The current threat level is bullshit-brown, with a hint of bloody red.

    p.s.: I liked Greenwald’s reference to Afghani rule of law. It provides an illustration of where we stand, today. He doesn’t quite nail it though – it is not time to discuss whether the president should have such powers of “high standard” assassination. That discussion took place in and before the 18th century, and the answer was, he shouldn’t and he doesn’t.

    The real question is, what are we going to do about this president breaking the law, and pissing on the entire raison d’etre of this here blighted nation in the process?

  20. DWBartoo says:

    The Dark Ages of “yesterday” were once described as providing a life for most people consisting of “… isolation, a lack of mobility, a lack of curiosity, and hopelessness …”

    Tomorrow’s “less enlightened time” might add … the lack of communication, and, ever more, the lack of essential community and thereby the fundamental lack of reason … to trust, either in the staying power of civilization, itself, or in the goodwill, humanity, and capacity for reason of any who exercise power, most viciously, in the name of hoi poloi.

    True tyranny, today, adds happy hypocrisy to its mix of myth and euphemistic metaphor, some kind of “proof” that subtlety yet frolics amongst the Ords of the Lords. Keeping everything all nice and legal.


  21. BoxTurtle says:

    life for most people consisting of “… isolation, a lack of mobility, a lack of curiosity, and hopelessness …”

    They had bloggers back then too?

    Boxturtle (They forgot to mention the cheetos)

  22. DWBartoo says:

    It is interesting to note that in most all things, Americans are, clearly, not equal, but when it comes to the sorry state of this nation, we are all, equally responsible.

    I do not disagree with that premise.

    However, some citizens do bear and owe a larger “debt” to society because they have enjoyed certain inequalities, whether owing to superior contribution (in the real and genuine sense, not merely the appearances of convention) or in deference to their lofty positions of “authority” and their possession of actual power.

    As citizens, we are all equally responsible for the nature of “our” time, so those citizens who enjoy prestige and power cannot say that, because they man the bastions of the systems of our society, they are exempt from THEIR obligations because the particular “system” they are involved with precludes them from seeing or understanding THEIR responsibility, simply as citizens to recognize obnoxious and destructive patterns of behavior, particularly when it comes to those things which allow and support civilization and, especially, what we call “the rule of law”.

    Part of that “equal” responsibility demands, even of the “highest”, a basic, fundamental respect for justice that demands equal treatment under the law …

    We may all be equal in our culpability but until we are also equal in the “consequence” …”equality” is, too often, a notion of simple rhetorical convenience and not a “fact”.


  23. wigwam says:

    I suspect that Brennan got the good on Obama, when he was indulging in illegal surveillance, and is now blackmailing him.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That line of reasoning implies that Obama is being forced into adopting many of Bush’s most egregious policies. It seems just as likely, if not more so, that he agrees with them and is using whatever is conveniently at hand as political cover, to avoid consequences for it.

      • BMcGarth says:

        Forced ?

        No,that’s what they would like us to think.
        He has been a shill & his acolytes have been using the meme…oh he is being made to do these things cuz then things will happen to him.

        Anyway,don’t be surprised when he comes before us pretending what
        a good progressive he is…..if we would support him then we can….then do so & so……Well he hasn’t done squat for progressives….how much
        more bad can it get..progressives need to look elsewhere.He is another BClinton, poor Americans & ordinary Americans don’t mean a damn thing to him & his cadre of advisers.

  24. Jo Fish says:

    Brennan’s holdover from the previous Decider Guy administration surprised me at first, especially since Orahma promised us “change” and “transparency”. After almost two years of inaction and lies from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, I guess it’s time to admit that we allowed Darth Cheney a third term. All the fire and brimstone from the right has been kabuki to convince us that BHO was with us, not them when it’s now empirically obvious that the opposite is true.

    Obama’s been paid to be a one-termer, and hand control of congress back to the right, now it looks like perhaps the extremist right in 2010 and 2012.

    Thus goes our Republic, that “Great Experiment”, now a failed experiment.

  25. Hugh says:

    It is a logical equation, but one we continue to dodge. We accept that the Bush Administration was extremist. We acknowledge too that Obama is following in Bush’s footsteps but in many cases taking even more radical stances. The conclusion that we should draw from this is that the Obama Administration is every bit as extremist as the one that preceded it. No one on the progressive side thought for an instant that there was anyway for us to work with Bush. We could only oppose him. How and why should it be any different with Obama?

    • wigwam says:

      Presumably, Brennan speaks for the Obama Administration on these matters. And he says that they are worse than building upon the Bush Administration, and proud of doing so.

  26. dhajj says:

    I wonder how thick the stack of files the CIA, DIA, NSA, FBI, etc. has on everyone who contributes to this website? Think we as a group could do a mass FOIA request and then each can choose to release their own results to this site if they want to? That would be fun.

  27. Mary says:

    Blago, Brennan, Obama – more kindred than I thought:

    [Blago]had three priorities, [Harris] said in a phone call: “Our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation.”

    By “legal situation,” Harris explained, Blago meant he wanted someone who would help ease the Justice Department’s investigation into Blagojevich’s dealings.

    Pretty much the same calculus Brennan and Obama have been bringing, especially to the Sup Ct vacancy and the DOJ. Easing the criminals’ legal situation, buttering up their personal situation, and bolstering their political situation. The boys could form their own club.

  28. MartyDidier says:

    The answer for “How many Americans are targeted for assassination?” can be viewed as what has been going on in Illlinois over the last 20 years. There is an Assassination system called “Murder Incorporated” that has been operating in Illinois for more than two decades. Thus far it’s estimated they have assassinated more than 80 people.

    How I know is because I was in a family for more than 26 years who are directly involved. You can ask my adult children….

    There are levels of groups involved each with their own agends working together for a common purpose. All murders end up being classified as an accident or an act of God. Great effort is made to make sure nothing is traceable back to them. They use setup car accidents to either kill or harm targets. The target is immediately taken to a hospital that is working with the system where the victim finally end their life. Of the three that I’ve been aware of when told in the 90’s, Central DuPage Hospital is well known as a “Killing Machine” named by the criminals. Those involve are the Hospital President and other Administrators down to doctors who administer poisons.

    Victims are often steered towards their doom with the help of a “Death Angel”. The DA bonds with the target with offering love or sex of both. during the relationship term, the DA reports back information gathered from the target and steers the target in the direction required by the criminal system. This ends where either the target is harmed or killed.

    Being in a family involved in this and having gone through a divorce has made me a target from day one. Luckily being in this family has taught me well with how the system works but there have been many additions since. The criminal system micro-snoops on the target 24/7. Comcast as an example has cable boxes which include microphones and cameras which are accessable over the internet by the criminals. The boxes also have high level functionalities that can communicate with other electronis devices even if not connected to the internet. Anything electronic is compromised so there isn’t any privacy at all. Setups on the target are more a matter of scheduling based on the target’s daily routine.

    One DA who was in my life (Patti K.) already just ended a relationship with another target who ended up being murdered. She admitted that he was murdered as well as others in her family with one being a Medical Student.
    Looking back, I was next! She admitted many things to me over our relationship term. She is part of a Dance Community involving many others which has links all the way to St Louis MI. Within the group is a Prostitution Ring, Drug Ring, Pedophilia Ring and others all working together and tied to a much larger International Drug System. All groups have CIA connections with being CIA operatives.

    Meet the family I was in:
    Mexico drug plane used for US ‘rendition’ flights: report Sep 4, 2008

    Please note the CIA link as the family leader Bruce Adreani often bragged about never being prosecuted even if it involved murder. Bruce and Ray have committed many murder and one needs to learn how many. All were considered accidents or an Act of God.

    Remember I’m only talking about Illinois and there are other areas!

    There is a lot more to talk about with this but for another time….

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

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