Leaving Brennan as CIA Director Means the Triumph of Secret Government
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says that John Brennan, the director of the CIA who has finally admitted that he lied when he angrily and repeatedly insisted that the agency did not spy on staff members of the Senate committee charged with oversight US intelligence agencies, “has a lot of work to do,” before she can forgive him for lying to and spying on her committee.
Not really. The truth is Feinstein and her committee have a lot of work to do. If Brennan does not resign, or get forced out of his job, immediately, his work is done. That is to say, he will have succeeded in fatally wounding what’s left of the democratic, Constitutional government that traces its roots back to 1776.
The undermining of American democracy has a long history, but the process accelerated mightily after World War II, with the creation of the CIA, the National Security Agency and other three-letter intelligence organizations like the Defense Intelligence Agency and more recently the Department of Homeland Security.
During the Cold War with the Soviet Union, it became the accepted wisdom that to “defend” American freedom, it was necessary to create a secret government run by spooks and bureaucrats who answered only to the president and to a select few members of Congress, most notably the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Tossed aside was Ben Franklin’s warning: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,”
Rare indeed have been the occasions when that committee has actually exercised any real authority over the CIA or the other intelligence agencies, but as poor a job as the Congress has done in reining in secret government over the last 65 years, it has gotten worse since 9-11, when intelligence agencies were given essentially carte blanche to spy not just on suspected terrorists but ordinary American citizens, and not just those suspected of crimes, but all of us.
Now, we’ve reached this moment of truth, when the committee finally did do some actual investigating into the behavior of the CIA with regard to illegal rendition and torture of people suspected of terrorism or of plotting terrorist acts against the US. In response to the committee’s efforts to actually look into secret illegal CIA activities, Brennan’s spooks began spying on and monitoring the activities of those Senate investigators, who work directly for the people that the US public elects to act on their behalf. Even worse, the agency concocted fake evidence which it brought to the US Office of Attorney General, seeking to have criminal charges brought against those same staffers.