New CIA director John Brennan was sworn into office Friday on the original draft of the Constitution — as in, the one drafted in 1787, four years before it included the Bill of Rights. It is a symbolic thing, but the White House got the symbolism wrong. Brennan has been criticized for being involved in, or at least aware of, various CIA policies that trouble civil libertarians. Brennan said he knew of, but did nothing to stop, the torture of war-on-terror detainess under the Bush administration. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul filibustered Brennan's nomination on Wednesday and into Thursday, demanding the Obama administration say whether it believed it had the power to use a drone to kill and American citizen not engaged in combat on American soil. (Attorney General Eric Holder said the answer was no.)
As Marcy Wheeler notes, what's funny about this is that the White House thought it was getting the symbolism right. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Brennan requested the 1787 copy of the Constitution from the National Archives to show the U.S. is a nation of laws, according to Yahoo. Earnest explained, "Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.