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article imagePressure builds for Obama's CIA director to step down

By Larry Clifton     Aug 2, 2014 in Politics
Washington - Just as a Senate report condemning the waterboarding of a couple of the most dangerous GITMO terrorists is due to be released, Democrats are calling for the head of the CIA director.
With midterm elections looming, the timing is significant since in the Senate report Democrats are condemning the Bush administration and CIA operatives for "torturing" top terrorists in order to gain critical information about terrorist activities.
After Director John Brennan admitted to and apologized for his staffers accessing classified Senate documents, Democrats are saying the Obama appointee should step down.
Despite the Southern border being overrun by illegal immigrants at home and mayhem in the Middle East region where multiple wars and conflicts are raging, the president and Democrats are focused on the Senate report that claims leading terrorists were treated too harshly at GITMO during the Bush administration.
White House and CIA staffers allegedly broke into Senate computers to spy on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, suggesting there has been a major breakdown in the separation of powers between the executive branch and legislative branches of government.
“This is going to feed into the Hollywood narrative about a wicked CIA,” said Jim Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The latest White House scandal comes on the heels of the Edward Snowden National Security Agency (NSA) scandal that saw classified information released by the NSA contractor. Even though the CIA hacking Senate computers is a different issue, the White House seems to move from scandal to scandal as of late.
“Folks are sick and tired of intelligence agencies running amok, and this only makes things worse,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said in a statement on Friday. “These actions cannot stand, and I will keep working with my colleagues to make sure that the intelligence community starts respecting civil liberties.”
Most troubling for Brennan, the report confirmed allegations Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) made in March, after he specifically denied the charges and called them “beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we’d do.”
Republicans and Democrats alike are calling for Brennan to step down, saying that the searching of Senate computers by CIA staff is a breach of trust between the agency and the Senate that calls for new leadership.
“I think that at this point, it would probably be better for the agency, frankly, if he step aside,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) told reporters in the Capitol on Thursday evening.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), too, called for Brennan to resign over the “tremendous failure of leadership,” for which “there must be consequences.”
“Folks are sick and tired of intelligence agencies running amok, and this only makes things worse,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said in a statement on Friday. “These actions cannot stand, and I will keep working with my colleagues to make sure that the intelligence community starts respecting civil liberties.”
Democrats will likely push hard for Brennan’s ouster since the Democrat-led Senate has been working on a report to admonish CIA officials in the Bush administration for waterboarding known terrorists at Guantánamo.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in a month, a memo says. The controversial technique that simulates drowning -- and which President Obama calls torture -- was used at least 83 times in August 2002 on suspected al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, according to the memo.
Nearly six years later, Pres. Obama, in a speech on Friday said, “we tortured some folks,” referring to the CIA treatment of some of the most hardened terrorists at GITMO.
While none of the terrorists waterboarded sustained physical injuries from waterboarding, Democrats, including Barack Obama, condemned the Bush administration for using waterboarding as a method to obtain information regarding Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders.
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