Civil liberties advocates, prominent government whistleblowers and human rights activists have joined with Senator Mark Udall’s (D-CO) call for the immediate resignation of CIA Director John Brennan in light of CIA spying on Senate Intelligence Committee computers.
A few months ago, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) rocked Washington by challenging the CIA for illegally spying on Congress and stealing documents, in a speech described by Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) as the most significant he had seen among thousands in his 40 year career in the Senate. CIA Director John Brennan vehemently denied those allegations at the time, but this week’s news makes clear that the CIA did in fact obstruct justice in its ongoing effort to evade accountability for its torture crimes. While President Obama has reiterated his support for Brennan despite the CIA’s continuing crimes under his leadership, members of Congress including Senator Udall (D-CO) have appropriately called for his removal. According to Shahid Buttar of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee,
“It’s bad enough that the CIA got away with torture undermining US national security, as well as its destruction of videotape evidence, without ever facing the mandatory prosecution required by law. Spying on the Senate committee investigating the Agency’s torture crimes adds insult to injury, mocks the separation of powers, and represents yet another example of the CIA’s obstruction of justice. Brennan should either resign or be forcibly removed by Congress. The Agency has undermined US national security for long enough, and should not be allowed to violate the law yet again with impunity. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.”
Ray McGovern, a highly decorated veteran CIA analyst (who on retirement was awarded CIA’s Intelligence Commendation Award, and received a letter of commendation from then-President George H. W. Bush– whom McGovern briefed every other morning with the President’s Daily Brief) said,
“It is inconceivable that the spying on the Senate committee happened without authorization by Director Brennan, so the question is why he did so. Easy answer: it has been established that Brennan had, at the very least, guilty knowledge of CIA torture, so the stakes for him personally could not be higher. He simply had to find out how damning the Senate report is about his own role.” McGovern went on to say, “Brennan’s nominal boss, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, is still in place after confessing to giving the same committee, on March 12, 2013, sworn testimony (about NSA collection programs) that was in Clapper’s words, was ‘clearly erroneous.’ If President Obama does not fire Brennan, this will demonstrate that the President himself is afraid of our intelligence services – what blackmail material they may have on him and even whether they will target him, as they did John Kennedy.”
“The CIA finally acknowledged it illegally hacked into congressional computers. Accountability demands the resignation of John Brennan as head of the CIA!” stated Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat who resigned in opposition to the war in Iraq.
“John Brennan’s time as CIA Director has been defined by spying, killing, and lying–– from spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee to conducting a lethal covert drone program that has killed thousands of people abroad,” said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK.
“John Brennan has grossly overstepped his bounds as Director of the CIA and violated the trust of the American people and our elected officials. We stand by Senator Mark Udall’s call for Brennan’s resignation.”
Sue Udry, Executive Director of the Defending Dissent Foundation, said, “While the problems at the CIA go far deeper than Mr. Brennan’s leadership, his immediate ouster by Congress will be a significant first step in what we hope will be a new chapter in Congressional oversight and accountability of this rogue agency.”