THE ASSASSINATION CZARMeet John O. Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Assistant to the President, and Obama's nominee for Director of Central Intelligence. As the man most responsible for what has become known as the Disposition Matrix, he's also affectionately known among his liberal friends as the Assassination Czar. The rumored pick for the job in 2008, he was forced to withdraw his name amid protest over his defense of enhanced interrogation techniques and extraordinary rendition as George Tenet's right hand man under Bush II, my how quickly liberals forget.
The Disposition Matrix
The Disposition Matrix is the fancy new politically correct name for the Kill List, well Kill or Capture List, but funny how we hardly ever seem to capture anybody, so we'll just call it the Kill List.
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”
Less visible is the extent to which Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war. Spokesmen for the White House, the National Counterterrorism Center, the CIA and other agencies declined to comment on the matrix or other counterterrorism programs.Washington Post
The NCTC operates a gigantic data-mining operation, in which all sorts of information about innocent Americans is systematically monitored, stored, and analyzed. This includes "records from law enforcement investigations, health information, employment history, travel and student records" – "literally anything the government collects would be fair game". In other words, the NCTC - now vested with the power to determine the proper "disposition" of terrorist suspects - is the same agency that is at the center of the ubiquitous, unaccountable surveillance state aimed at American citizens.
Obama officials very recently abolished safeguards on how this information can be used. Whereas the agency, during the Bush years, was barred from storing non-terrorist-related information about innocent Americans for more than 180 days – a limit which "meant that NCTC was dissuaded from collecting large databases filled with information on innocent Americans" – it is now free to do so. Obama officials eliminated this constraint by authorizing the NCTC "to collect and 'continually assess' information on innocent Americans for up to five years".
Glen Greenwald, The Guardian
The Fifth AmendmentMr. Brennan, meet the fifth amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The argument that in the War on Terror the battlefield is world-wide is a convenient blank check for the administration that must be cancelled. Drone attacks in Afghanistan are one thing, drone attacks in countries where there does not exist a declared state of war another, regardless of whether or not whatever third-world tin pot dictator that currently leads it is a willing participant or not.