After a week in which questions about U.S. drone policy and the potential of killing American citizens on U.S. soil dominated the news, John Brennan was sworn in as the new CIA director with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution dating from 1787.
White House spokesman Joshua Earnest said Mr. Brennan requested the copy of the Constitution, which includes George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations, from the National Archives because he “wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA.”
Vice President Joe Biden swore in Mr. Brennan in a private ceremony at the White House Friday morning.
Mr. Brennan’s confirmation was held up Wednesday when Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, staged a nearly 13-hour filibuster against Mr. Obama’s pick, demanding clarifications of the administration’s drone policies targeting American citizens.
Mr. Rand only relented after receiving assurances from the White House that the president did not have the power to order lethal military drone strikes against American citizens in the United States who were not threatening or plotting imminent harm against the country.
Despite the assurances, Mr. Paul along with Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, want to attach a prohibition on drone strikes against American citizens on U.S. soil to the government-wide spending bill expected to move to the Senate floor next week, Politico reported Friday.
The language would bar the federal government from using drones to kill U.S. citizens in American unless the individual in question was about to kill or cause “serious bodily injury” to another person.