An article in the most recent issue of The Atlantic titled, “Does John Brennan know too much for Obama to fire him?” looks at an issue that I have brought up a number of times before. I think it is very possible that we are in a situation where the CIA, NSA and other spy agencies are allowed to virtually write their own playbook because they have potentially damaging information on top officials in Washington, including Obama.
The author of the article guesses that the information in CIA Director Brennan’s case might be related to illegal drone attacks that violated international law. Very possible, I agree, but it could be any number of things in Obama’s past that Brennan might hang over the President’s head. As I’ve said before, the extortion of those in the executive and legislative branches does not have to be explicit at all. No threats have to be made. You can assume that if you made an embarrassing misstep in your past, the CIA and NSA know about it too.
It will take a future President with a whole lot of courage (if there is such a thing) to truly rein in America’s bloated surveillance state.