Georgia’s senior US Senator Saxby Chambliss sent out a message to constituents about his vote against CIA Director John Brennan and his support of fellow Republican Senator Rand Paul during his 13 hour filibuster. Unlike the 2008 Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Lindsey Graham of S. Carolina, Senator Chambliss supported and stood with Senator Paul. For that, Senator, I thank you.
This week, I voted against John Brennan for director of the CIA. While I believe that the president has the right to choose his own appointees, Mr. Brennan’s responses to many of my questions during the confirmation process were very troubling and raised new concerns about his judgment, his willingness to commit to transparency with Congress, and ultimately, his candor.
I was most troubled by his refusal to acknowledge the damage caused by his disclosure of classified information, which resulted in the outing of a key counterterrorism source. This country has a huge problem with intelligence leaks and we will not be able to effectively hold accountable those responsible for such leaks if our senior officials shrug off their own damaging disclosures.
Mr. Brennan is also the driving force behind the administration’s ineffective policy of refusing to detain and interrogate terrorists. Just killing them or relying on our foreign partners to do our intelligence collection for us results in the loss of valuable intelligence that could thwart the next attack.
Finally, underlying all of these issues are the principles of candor and transparency with Congress, as was demonstrated with Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster. I joined Sen. Paul in his effort on the Senate floor because I believe he deserved an answer to his question.
I am pleased that his filibuster forced the administration to respond. However, this pattern of obstruction and lack of cooperation is becoming all too familiar with this administration, and Mr. Brennan has been involved in many of the decisions to withhold information from Congress. Congress must be an equal branch of the government, and this growing trend of refusing to cooperate with Congress must end. The future security of our country depends on all of us working together. To do that well, there must be transparency and honesty.
Mr. Brennan was ultimately confirmed, and as the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I will be interacting extensively with him. He will have many opportunities in the next several years to alleviate my concerns, and I hope he does so.
To watch my floor statement, click here.
Very truly yours,