He Is the One Who Can Ask

The Director of Central Intelligence has forgotten how everything works:

The normally cool and calm director of the CIA, John Brennan, may have flinched Tuesday. After a scathing speech from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee that oversees his agency, Brennan largely defended the CIA from charges that it illegally spied on Senate staffers poring through documents related to the agency’s black site program.

But the CIA chief also left open the prospect that he may have been wrong. “If I did something wrong,” Brennan said. “I will go to the president and I will explain to him what I did and what the findings were. And he is the one who can ask me to stay or to go.”

In Washington, where politicians have mastered the art of the mea culpa, those words would not normally warrant much attention. But for John Brennan, a man entrusted with secrets on everything from Obama’s drone war to his cyber espionage campaign against Iran, Brennan’s talk amounts to a kind of dare.

The President does not ask. He tells.

If the Senate committee that oversees the CIA is up in arms about being spied on, you can be rest assured that it won't be up to the President whether John Brennan stays or goes--it will be a removal based on the fact that the oversight and compliance carried out by the Senate has found him wanting and unethical. The noise making process has begun. Senator Feinstein is after Brennan's hide. This is how the Congress can impose its will on the President; and if the President digs in his heels, he will have to fight to keep him.

Is Brennan worth a fight with the Senate? No, he is not. He should resign by Friday afternoon if, in fact, the CIA did spy on Congress in any way, shape or form. And the DNI should follow him out the door. A clean sweep is overdue.

At this point, the intelligence community is so badly managed and run that it would take a miracle to restore any semblance of trust in the CIA or any of the other organizations inside of the umbrella. Chuck Hagel should really be the one to assess whether it is cost effective to keep all of these agencies full of contractors and cost overruns.

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