All The President’s Drones – Investigative Journalism Everyday

Recently, President Obama has been getting ‘lots of heat’ for nominating John Brennan as the new head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). All of this criticism, confusion and possible foul play begs the question: Should President Obama’s affiliation and support of John Brennan be investigated (could there be unspoken motives at work here)?

All of the criticism stems surrounding Brennan stems from his history as the Deputy Executive Director of the CIA during the Bush administration, a time when torturing prisoners in the United States was legal. When Obama was first elected president, one of the main things that he did was to “drop the Bush administration’s torture policies” and make it illegal to torture prisoners. (Rachel Maddow Video) Regardless who though what about this policy change, everyone agrees that President Obama’s support of Brennan is extremely questionable. Rachel Maddow raises the point that it’s completely illogical that a president who makes it clear s/he is against torturing would support a man who was an integral part of the CIA during its torture days.

A screen-cap from Rachel Maddow's video about President Obama's potentially illegal actions regarding the use of drone strikes to kill American citizens.

A screen-cap from Rachel Maddow’s video about President Obama’s potentially illegal actions regarding the use of drone strikes to kill American citizens.

 

President Obama is also receiving a lot of criticism due to his support of Brennan being “the face of President Obama’s drone program”. (Rachel Maddow Video) Drone strikes have killed over 4,700 people since 2002 (according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism), most of whom were residing in countries like Pakistan. However some of these victims were American citizens, and this is where much of the current controversy begins. According to the NY Times, a secret 50-page document was published within the government that allows the president to kill US citizens via drone strikes. Unfortunately, this document has not been released and the government is very clearly against releasing it any time soon.

Further arising questions involve the media’s role in establishing whether or not the president is right in his support of Brennan and the joint drone program, as well as being allowed to kill US citizens. It’s clear that the NY Times was informed of a secret document conceptualized and created within the current administration, but anything further than that is just speculation. Investigative journalists and US citizens alike are “either with the president’s logic or can’t understand it at all.” (Media Versus The President Article)

Like investigative journalists Woodward and Bernstien did during the Nixon administration, investigative journalists must do today during the Obama administration. No matter the president, no matter the topic or concern, no matter the difficulty, these types of potential crimes against the United States and the country’s citizens must be investigated. Even if no real crime has been committed yet (meaning in any case involving a president not being clear and completely open to the public when asked about the deaths of American citizens), it’s the job of investigative journalists like Woodward and Bernstien to explore the case and develop a story.

Some might say that the actions of Woodward and Bernstien could not be replicated in today’s government and society, where it’s hard to keep a strong focus on a certain subject and the internet has become so integrated into people’s lives (an example of this type of person being Greg Krikorian, a reporter for the LA Times). However if Americans begin to take up this point of view, then nothing will be investigated. Maintaining the status quo is simply not enough in today’s world.

 

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is an example of someone who will not be content with the status quo. Today, he began filibustering the nomination of Brennan as the head of the CIA at 11:47 a.m. (Senator Rand Paul Filibuster Article) Whether or not anyone agrees with this particular politician’s views or beliefs should not be the main concern. What people should be concerned with is that fact that not as many politicians are acting the same way that Senator Paul is, and/or the fact that more Americans aren’t standing up for their rights to know why the current administration believes it might be alright to kill US citizens via drone strikes.

 

References:

Rachel Maddow – Drone Strikes on Americans (Video)

The Media (Investigative Jounralists) Versus The President (Article)

Woodward and Bernstien – Lighting the Fire (Video)

Senator Rand Paul Filibustering Brennan’s Election (Article/Video)

About Daniel

Daniel is a graduate of CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, summa cum laude with a B.A. in Film Production and TV/Radio. He can be reached via his website, www.passingplanes.com. The Utopia of Daniel was his college blog and he has since transitioned to posting on other sites.