Why did Brennan eschew bible at swearing-in ceremony?

Brennan takes the oath of office from Vice President Joe Biden Photo credit www.cia.gov

The circumstances surrounding John Brennan’s swearing-in ceremony as CIA chief Friday renewed the controversy that has swirled around him since his appointment.

When Vice President Joe Biden swore in the new director, Brennan didn’t place his left hand on the Bible, as is customary, placing it instead on a first draft of the Constitution, according to The Weekly Standard.

The placement only inflamed suspicions, started by a rumor that Brennan is a Muslim convert recruited by Saudi Arabia. The rumor, started by former FBI agent John Guandolo on a Miami radio station, was never proven. However, Brennan has consistently claimed that “radical Islam” does not pose a unique threat to the United States, routinely preferring to use “violent extremism” instead of “radical Islam.”

The fact that Brennan chose to place his left hand on a “first draft” of the Constitution is significant because that draft misses some of the most basic guarantees covered under the Bill of Rights, the Constitution’s first 10 amendments, according to blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Specifically, it’s mussing the First Amendment, which guarantees Americans the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion.

The “first draft” also doesn’t include the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures and right for Americans to be secure within their own home.

Also missing on the early draft is the Fifth Amendment, which lays out basic rights granted to every person accused of a crime, including prohibitions against double jeopardy and self-incrimination, as well as guarantees against criminal conviction without due process of law. The Fifth Amendment also provides that there can be no taking of private property by the state “for public use, without just compensation.”

Missing, too, is the Sixth Amendment, guaranteeing criminal defendants the right to a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of their peers. It also provides that a defendant must be notified as to the nature of the crime, be given the opportunity to confront and cross-examine his accusers and be granted the right to counsel in his defense.

I imagine Brennan’s choices at his swearing-in ceremony were meant to be symbolic, but perhaps it wasn’t the symbolism he desired.

Read more at Empty Wheel.


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