Washington, DC- Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after voting against John Brennan’s nomination to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“The Bush Administration was far too quick to sacrifice our core constitutional values that guarantee freedom in the name of fighting terrorism, and while the Obama administration has attempted to turn the page on some important infringements on civil liberties, too many of those Bush-era policies continue. We need new leadership in our intelligence community to help steer our nation toward a clear re-affirmation of our values. John Brennan, an inside player in both administrations, is not the right person for that job.
“I have deep concerns with the Obama Administration’s continuation of Bush-era policies related to warrantless wiretapping and the collection of electronic records pertaining to the activities of ordinary citizens. I have concerns about policies that allow the administration to strip due process rights from Americans it chooses to deem enemy combatants. Those lost rights constitute core Constitutional values including the requirement to show cause for detaining a citizen, the right to a public trial, and the right to confront those who bear evidence against you. I am also deeply concerned about the implications of the administration’s policy on drone strikes. And I am troubled that so much of the legal justification for these policies remains secret, preventing Congress, let alone the American people, from weighing the trade-offs.
“We can and should protect America from our enemies without compromising the very essence of American freedom and rule of law. We need someone at the CIA who will lead us towards counterterrorism policies that reflect and respect Americans’ deep faith in our Constitution. I don’t believe John Brennan is the right person for that challenge.”