The release of the assassination memos to U.S. lawmakers was also announced on the eve of today’s confirmation hearing for CIA nominee John Brennan, who some have dubbed President Obama’s “assassination czar.” Brennan is expected to be questioned on a range of controversial issues, including the assassinations and his role in the Bush torture program while at the CIA. Speaking this morning on MSNBC, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said U.S. citizens should be able to know why the government has targeted them for assassination.
Sen. Ron Wyden: “Every American has the right to know when their government believes it’s allowed to kill them. I don’t think that, as one person said, that is too much to ask. And this idea that security and liberty are mutually exclusive, that you can have only one or the other, is something I reject. So we’re now going to have to begin the heavy lifting of the congressional oversight process by examining the legal underpinnings of this program. And to make very clear, I am going to push for more declassification of these key kinds of programs. And I think we can do that consistent with national security.”
Wyden has led the push for the White House to explain its rationale for targeting U.S. citizens and will be among the senators to question John Brennan today. After suggesting he would consider filibustering Brennan’s nomination, Wyden received a personal phone call from President Obama on Wednesday night to inform him of the memos’ release.