Letter: Explaining to do
I recently called the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren to convey my concerns about John Brennan’s potential confirmation as CIA director. At that time, the staffer said the majority of constituent callers were also opposed. When I later found out that both Sen. Warren and Sen. William Cowan voted in favor of Brennan, I was shocked and outraged. I checked with both offices about the final constituent tallies, and Warren’s office said it was “three-to-one against” and Cowan’s office said “the majority were against.” I asked the Warren staffer “what about representative democracy?” and the fact that the senator is “our voice in Washington.” He said that we are represented when we vote in senatorial elections (every 6 years). John Brennan’s confirmation as director of the CIA is no light matter. As Obama’s national security adviser, he has been in a key figure in the use of drones for targeted assassinations around the world. This highly secretive program kills “suspected terrorists” (as well as the unfortunate people who happen to be with them in the same car or cafe), with no disclosure of evidence or due process. Brennan has also served as a senior official in the CIA under Bush, and has publicly defended the policies of “enhanced interrogation” (which included waterboarding) and “extraordinary rendition” (airlifting “suspected terrorists” to countries known to torture prisoners). Both Warren and Cowan should explain, first of all, why they ignored their constituents’ voices and voted for someone the people of Massachusetts didn’t want, and, secondly, why they gave approval to a man who is not only going to continue this frightening U.S. policy, but plans to expand it. (Sen. Warren can be reached in Washington at: 202-224-4543 and Sen. Cowan at 202-224-2742).