As representatives of various peace and justice communities, we are deeply concerned about the nomination of John Brennan to be at the helm of the CIA. As President Obama’s current counterterrorism advisor, Brennan is the mastermind behind the administration’s lethal drone program, which is killing innocent civilians abroad and sowing strong anti-American sentiment throughout the world.
Every week on “Terror Tuesdays” John Brennan and President Obama go over a “Kill List” and assume the roles of prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner by deciding who lives and dies at the receiving end of American drone missiles. People on this secret Kill List have never been charged, tried or convicted in a court of law, and are given no opportunity to surrender. Drone strikes kill not only their intended targets, but innocent people, including hundreds of children, something that John Brennan has previously denied.
Drones in the hands of the CIA keep the program veiled in secrecy. The lack of transparency and accountability violate the basic tenets of a democratic society. The drone program has expanded dramatically at the behest of Brennan, and if appointed director of the CIA he will have even more power.
Our drone policies reflect a shameful lack of regard for human rights and international law. The example being set by the United States that a nation can go anywhere it wants and kill anyone it wants on the basis of secret information is leading to a world of chaos and lawlessness. The CIA should be an institution designated for intelligence gathering, not covert killing programs. We urge the Senate to reject the nomination of John Brennan, redirect the CIA to its role of intelligence gathering, and implement strict regulations for the use of lethal drones.