If Brennan Gets Away with Spying on Congress, What Does That Mean for American Democracy?

by lizard

There is a scandal that should, at the very least, destroy Brennan’s career. If it doesn’t, what does that say about the executive office? About American democracy? At Counterpunch today, Dave Lindorff doesn’t mince words:

Sen. Dianne 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 CIA spied on Congress and Brennan lied about it. How can Obama not immediately demand Brennan’s resignation? What are the implications of Brennan remaining director? Lindorff is asking the same questions:

Why is he still in office as CIA director? Why, indeed, is Clapper still his boss, as head of National Intelligence?

The only conceivable answer at this point has to be that the members of Congress, including the members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the President, (who remember, has the absolute authority to fire both men at will), are so thoroughly corrupt and compromised themselves that they dare not go after these Constitutional criminals, jailing them for their utter contempt of Congress, and having them for high treason.

Leaving Clapper, and especially Brennan, in office is the ultimate surrender by Congress of what little remains of democratic government in the US. It is the end of the Constitution. If secret government cannot be called to account, then the country is being run by a secret government whose power no longer has any limits.

Don’t expect Obama to do a goddamn thing. He’s too busy playing golf and increasing tenfold the watch lists for the out-of-control security state. This latter information comes from another leaker within that security state, leaked to The Intercept. From the link:

Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept.

Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments—more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category—280,000 people—dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.

The documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush.

Where will this end? If Congress is too corrupt and intimidated to provide effective oversight, and the executive office (Obama) is too corrupt and complicit in systemic abuses of our constitutional rights to fire the treasonous bastards destroying the last shreds of our democracy, where do we go?

Lindorff has an answer, and I don’t like it one bit:

There are ways to recover government of, by and for the people, but they are no longer likely to involve elections, since secret government has the power to subvert elections. If Brennan and Clapper can get away with what they have thus far gotten away with — not just thumbing their noses at Congress, but actually spying on its members with impunity — then the only way to take back popular government remains overthrowing those in power, dragging them before public tribunals, and administering people’s justice, whatever form that may ultimately take.

Sen. Feinstein is wrong. Brennan doesn’t “have a lot of work to do.”

We do.


  1. evdebs

    So, regardless of party, who is most likely to support this expansion of the security state? Walsh or Daines?

    So, why are you supporting Daines?

    • lizard19

      pay attention, Walsh appears to be on his way out.

      • Steve W

        He was sounding mighty toasty this morning alright.

        • Please, oh please make his replacement Keenan.

          • Steve W

            Here’s where they draft Schweitzer who then kicks Daines ass. Heh heh.

  2. Turner

    I don’t see much difference between Lindorff’s “solution” and that of Dylan Bundy.

    The only defense of Brennan et al I can think of is that spy agencies are by their very nature deceptive. We can’t expect them to do their jobs effectively while always telling the truth.

    That means it makes no sense to have them testify to anything under oath.

    A question should be: Do we actually need spy agencies?

    • lizard19

      spy agencies are suppose to spy on enemies, not Congress. unless of course Congress is now seen as an enemy.

  3. steve kelly

    “Mr. Brennan spent most of his C.I.A. career as an analyst, but during the 1990s served a tour as the chief of the station in Saudi Arabia. From 1999 to early 2001, he was chief of staff to George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, as the position was then called. At the end of his C.I.A. service, in 2004 and 2005, Mr. Brennan set up what is now the counterterrorism center.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/us/politics/counterterror-adviser-to-be-named-chief-of-cia.html?_r=1&

    Add a little Brzezinski to the mix and through the fog I can almost see Russia from my kitchen window.

  4. JC

    Well, the question is not so much “if Brennan Gets Away with Spying on Congress” as it is “now that we have shown that the security state is spying on everybody”. The answer about “American Democracy” is the same: it is a sham.

    Brennan could be sacked and nothing will change. “American Democracy” is an illusion that only exists in a climate controlled museum archive.

    God forbid “We the People” should ever try to preserve what is left of “American Democracy” or what we have been led to believe it should be. Or propose new forms of government that are truly “of, by and for” the people.

  5. Of course they spy on all members of Congress, and they do so to control their behavior while in office. Ever heard of J Edgar Hoover? He was the first director of the Political Police, aka FBI, and had a file on anyone who was anyone in power. This is nothing new, this NSA stuff, except that the technology is better.

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