John Brennan, the Intelligence Community’s One Man Justice Department

Matt Apuzzo has a story describing three different responses to growing concerns about the CIA-on-the-Hudson.

There’s Rush Holt, who unfortunately is no longer on the House Intelligence Committee and therefore has limited ability to look into this:

“I believe that these serious and significant allegations warrant an immediate investigation,” Holt wrote.


Holt, who previously served on the House Intelligence Committee, said he never remembers being told about the CIA partnership or the programs the NYPD was running.


Holt asked for a special prosecutor because he wanted both the civil rights issues and the NYPD-CIA collaboration to be investigated, his office said.

So Holt, who suggests he should have been informed of the NYPD spook program but wasn’t, suggests one means of oversight never happened.

There’s Mike Bloomberg, who has been Mayor for almost the entire post-9/11 period and therefore ought to have exercised some oversight over this program:

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked Thursday about the CIA’s investigation and whether he thought the partnership violated any laws.

“How would I know?” Bloomberg replied. “They’re doing an investigation. That’s what — if I knew, I’d be happy to tell them. But my guess is no.”

Surprisingly, Bloomberg hasn’t thought of consulting one of NY’s own lawyers, or one of the thousands of lawyers inhabiting NY, to find out whether the partnership was legal. A smart guy like Mayor Mike and he claims not to even know how he might find out if the program were legal. Rather than finding out, though, he’s just gonna guess.

And then, finally, there’s John Brennan, the guy who apparently did the targeting for Cheney’s illegal wiretap program and also was personally involved in one of the whistleblower cases the Obama Justice Department is prosecuting, who cites his intimate knowledge of the program as his basis for being sure there’s no problem.

President Barack Obama’s homeland security adviser, John Brennan, who was the deputy executive director the CIA when the NYPD intelligence programs began, said he was intimately familiar with the CIA-NYPD partnership. He said that agency knew what the rules were and did not cross any lines.

Call me crazy. But I think there’s a third reason to support Holt’s call for an independent prosecutor. Not only is Obama’s DOJ personally involved, but his top Homeland Security advisor was involved in this mess, too. Given the White House’s past involvement in shutting down DOJ investigations pertaining to the Brennan-era CIA, I’d say we need someone free of that chain of authority.

10 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    And, as I have argued to Apuzzo’s partner in crime, Adam Goldman, there is also the legitimate question of just how independent the CIA IG is at this point. As much as I respect Helgerson’s work, it is incontrovertible that there were some inappropriate reins on him and his office.

  2. MadDog says:

    In sense, I’m surprised the Repugs haven’t taken (more) advantage of this political-hay-making opportunity.

    It may be that their political-hay-making plate is so full that it’s overflowing.

    It may be that they’re allowing the scandal to simmer and gather the heat.

    Or it may be that they see no real value in exposing their own party’s previous regime to a righteous criminal prosecution.

    And it may be that they see no value at all in aligning themselves to a Muslim (American or not) civil rights-related issue, nor to diminishing in any way the National Security State apparatus they so fervently put in and want to keep in, place.

  3. MadDog says:

    @bmaz: I suspect you’re already aware of this, but in case not, Helgerson has been replaced by David B. Buckley.

    That said, your point about the purported “independence” of the CIA’s IG (and for that matter, any Federal organization’s in-house IG) is a long-standing sore point too with me.

  4. Bob Schacht says:

    Can we (I mean, Obama) be done with Rizzo and Brennan, please? Nothing like having two war criminals in high level administrative positions. They might as well send “We’ve got your back” cards to all the lower level criminals that are still around.

    Bob in AZ

  5. MadDog says:

    @Bob Schacht: Rizzo has retired from the CIA to undertake a new career as source for any and all media in regard to any CIA topic.

    He’s been on the latest Frontline, National Geographic and other CIA/Bin Laden specials lately as a “authoritative former CIA source”.

    The guy implies he was in the loop on everything the CIA did, but never voices any information that doesn’t softsoap or outright deny CIA misdeeds and crimes.

    Failure to turnover CIA interrogation videos to the Federal courts who demanded them? Merely a technicality says shyster Rizzo.

  6. Mary says:

    ” He said that agency knew what the rules were and did not cross any lines.

    Exactly – they knew because they had a Yoo memo explaining those “rules” to them. We know they don’t cross line – they don’t authorize the shootdown of a plane with an American missionary and family and to hell with the infant on board’s last breaths; they don’t cross lines like dousing naked mean in icewater and leaving them to freeze to death during the Afghan night, after the Afghan day of torture. They know the rules – like they knew about Hussein’s WMDS; like they knew the aluminum tubes were carriers for those WMDs; like they knew about the legality of torture; like they knew that waterboarding had only been done 3 times; like they knew not to destroy torture tapes; like …

    bmaz – it’s not only the reins on the IGs, it’s that they can only operate interdepartmentally and they aren’t prosecutors – just “investigators.” Once you have likelihood of crimes, you don’t run out the sol with IGs – you put a real prosecutor show can go after any and everyone on point.

  7. Phil Perspective says:

    Bloomberg didn’t know about any of this? That’s the funniest fucking thing I’ve read all day. Bloomie is an authoritarian, maybe not as much as Mr. 9/11, but still one none the less.

  8. zapkitty says:

    Irony: Holt – a corporate sellout par excellence on election reform issues – becomes our last, best hope for civil liberties… when he’s away from the reins of authority.

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