Sen. Rand Paul's epic filibuster raised valid concerns about the US drone program, delaying the vote to confirm John Brennan as CIA director. Turns out Mr. Brennan also values transparency and accountability and may support the transfer of CIA drone operations to the US military.
Sen. Rand Paul's epic 13-hour speech-turned-filibuster on the Senate floor yesterday raised serious – and valid – concerns about the US drone program. Mr. Paul's remarks delayed the vote to confirm John Brennan as CIA director, but as it turns out, Mr. Brennan also values transparency and accountability. Though he is known as the architect of America’s drone program, as newly-confirmed CIA director, Brennan may, in fact, challenge the current reporting structure.
At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee last month, Brennan said unequivocally, “The CIA should not be doing traditional military activities and operations.” This is in keeping with insider reports that Brennan has repeatedly advocated for President Obama to transfer drone operations from the CIA to the Pentagon.
And Brennan would be right to advocate for such a shift. As America enters the next decade of the fight against Al Qaeda, strategic and ethical considerations require that the government refocus its attention on high-level leaders, avoid civilian casualties, and remain accountable to the American public. To do so, it needs to capitalize on the military’s superior expertise, relative transparency, and overall effectiveness by giving the Pentagon command of all armed drone operations.
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