Senate Republicans are moving to force Senate Democrats to garner 60 votes to bring Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of State to the Senate floor. This is Lindsey Grahamstanding at his finest.
While Hagel may not be the ideal candidate for Secretary of State, this is a Cabinet position for the President and we should by-and-large defer to the President on his cabinet picks, except in the most extreme circumstances.
Chuck Hagel does not present those extreme circumstances. While he has demonstrated his extreme ineptness, he is not dangerous. The same can be said of UN Ambassador, Susan Rice. These are people with which we have political disagreements.
John Brennan is different. John Brennan has been nominated to direct the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is the most secretive and covert organization (for its size and budget) on the planet. Yet John Brennan, in his confirmation hearing wouldn’t come forward with an appropriate amount of information concerning drone warfare. Brennan is now known as the main power behind Obama’s kill list.
Brennan, in his time as, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, has broadened his authority beyond the boundaries of his title in helping to facilitate a presidential kill list and stretching the boundaries of American law. Now, Democrats and Republicans want to hand him over the reins to one of the most powerful jobs in the nation?
Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has pushed back Brennan’s confirmation two more weeks until one of the most secretive White House’s in recent memory – the Obama White House, releases seven drone and assassination memos it has promised but failed to release.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has placed a hold on Brennan’s confirmation until Brennan and the White House can confirm whether-or-not a drone assassination can be carried out within the continental United States or in its related territories. While the current White Paper expressly limits its holding to assassinations outside of the US, it certainly does not preclude or create a legal distinction between being on the inside or the outside of the country.
While the White Paper does expressly state that this line of legal reasoning relates only to the assassination of Americans outside of America, it fails to present a compelling legal argument as to whether an assassination could take place in say, England for example. Or Canada or Mexico – we simply don’t know the limits of our own government’s legal right to kill us should we be deemed a threat. Why is the power limited to Al-Qaeda operatives? Could it be broadened to Muslim terrorists at home? Could domestic sovereign national or extreme evangelical groups be targeted at home? What about Timothy McVeigh, could he have been assassinated without trial if it met the defined criteria? Can an American terrorist residing here be assassinated on vacation? Can a domestic terrorist who resides here be assassinated during a terrorist meeting in Yemen?
Chuck Hagel isn’t interested in stopping Iran from getting the bomb. While this site has consistently maintained that we should allow Israel to protects its security interests, we have also stated that it should not be U.S. policy to police the middle east. But no matter what you think of Chuck Hagel’s opinion of Israel – it is a political disagreement. Brennan on the other hand is encouraging POTUS to act in violation of Constitutional Due Process, so we don’t just have a political difference of opinion with him, we rightly see him as an enemy of our rights.
Brennan’s confirmation hearing failed to address the limits that he believes the United States government has in assassinating its citizens. And even if you argue that the White Paper clearly lays out the rules for when an assassination may occur, we still lack a coherent, firm foundation for why the assassinations can only be limited to outside of the United States when a domestic terrorist poses a graver threat to national security then a terrorist across the ocean.
Republicans should filibuster the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director because he has failed to be forthcoming with the American people in regards to what his belief in Due Process is. He has failed in his Constitutional oath to uphold, serve and protect the Constitution of the United States and has given us no hope for a change in his warfare philosophy. Republicans should join together and block the nomination of John Brennan to the CIA.