The Real News Network has an interview with Michael Ratner here on the topic of Brennan’s confirmation hearing. Below is an excerpt from the hearing:
WYDEN: Let me ask you several other questions with respect to the president’s authority to kill Americans. I’ve asked you how much evidence the president needs to decide that a particular American can be lawfully killed and whether the administration believes that the president can use this authority inside the United States. In my judgment, both the Congress and the public need to understand the answers to these kind of fundamental questions.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: The Office of Legal Counsel advice establishes the legal boundaries within which we can operate. It doesn’t mean that we operate at those outer boundaries. And, in fact, I think the American people would be quite pleased to know that we’ve been very disciplined and very judicious, and we only use these authorities and these capabilities as a last resort.
Essentially, Brennan’s point is that the American people should simply trust their virtuous and high-minded leaders, to make the right decision when it comes to who deserves to live and who deserves to be (literally) blown into bits [As one writer opined, Obama, “the wise, judicious philosopher-king,” obediently consults “Aquinas and Augustine before sending a drone missile on a ‘signature strike’ on a group of picnickers in Yemen or farmers in Pakistan”]. Elsewhere in the conversation, Brennan describes how he and other individuals involved in choosing who gets to live and who gets blown to pieces “agonize” over minimizing casualties. The point is, the Obama Administration doesn’t need any oversight, because the individuals in question are so ‘disciplined’ and ‘judicious’ in their decision-making that any additional measures would simply be superfluous.
It should alarm readers that Brennan is either so convinced, or so desperate to convince the committee and the American people of his and his colleagues’ unwavering morality. These ‘disciplined’ and ‘judicious’ individuals have still yet to explain how drone assassinations are indeed the last resort, and not the first resort of this particular administration when it comes to targeting suspects accused of being involved in terrorist activities.
UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler has an excellent post at her blog detailing a few instances of Brennan’s “undisciplined” and “not-so-judicious” acts:
Remember, in addition to having ties to torture, Brennan was in charge of profiling for Dick Cheney’s illegal wiretap program. And he’s the guy who decided it’d be great to give the NCTC unfettered access to any federal database. This man loves data mining, and we should expect to see more of it from the CIA.
Brennan was purportedly opposed to signature strikes. Until he approved them for use in Yemen.
Brennan has had control over all aspects of the drone program for 8 months. But the drone program is, if anything, accelerating again.
And remember, Brennan is a liar. A proven liar on this and a number of other issues. As well as a key instigator for the self-interested leaking the Administration would criminally punish coming from others. He spends a great deal of energy telling useful but not factually accurate stories to spin the Administration’s counterterrorism programs.