Culture Of Unaccountability: Of Course The President Should Fire John Brennan, And Of Course He Won’t

CIA Director John Brennan Speaks At The Council On Foreign Relations

Democratic Senators, who for some strange reason don’t think they should be spied on while the Director of the C.I.A. lies to their faces, are indignantly calling for John Brennan, who did the lying and was probably behind the spying too, to either resign, or be fired. On Tuesday, it was revealed that contrary to what Brennan swore was true in March, the spy agency has been illegally monitoring  the computers of Senate staffers investigating Bush administration interrogation practices, a.k.a. torture. This means that in March, when Brennan went before  the Council of Foreign Relations and responded to questions about allegations of such activities and said…

“Nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, we wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the scope of reason.”

…he lied. Or, in the alternative, as is always a good possibility in the administration of Barack Obama, he had no idea what was going on in his own department, just like, if they are all to believed, Hillary Clinton at the State Department, the various heads of the I.R.S., the NSA’s James Clapper, the Veterans Administration ex-chief Eric Shinseki, Eric Holder, Kathleen Sibelius as the Affordable Care Act fell apart under her oversight, and of course, the President himself, whose non-leadership style infects all he surveys. Thus it should be no surprise to anyone that the immediate response to this news by the President was that it was all a big misunderstanding, and that Brennan has his “full confidence.”

All an objective observer can do is sigh, and sigh, and sigh, maybe scream, and then bang his or her head against a hard surface. This has happened again and again, and the results are plain to see. Incompetence and dishonesty to cover up the incompetence has become the culture of the government, and proof of it comes to the surface every day. At the root of it all is the message that has been communicated from the top of the chain of command from the very first days: there will be no accountability here. We will blame others for our failures and errors, once we can’t hide them any more. Loyalty counts more than performance. Those demanding accountability will be marginalized as obstructionists, racists, enemies.

This, as any scholar or expert in management, business, government, leadership, human resources or psychology will tell you is organizational poison, and some day, I suspect, this entire experiment in government by amateur will be used as a teaching module, illustrating what horrendous damage incompetent management and leadership methods will do. Not can do. Will do.

The second the President learned that Brennan had apologized to Sen. Diane Feinstein and the other leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he should have fired Brennan….fired him, not given him the chance to resign. The message is crucial, because everyone else under the President’s supervision is watching: I don’t tolerate this. But how can Obama send such a message, when the White House similarly “apologized” for ignoring the law and not letting the Senate Intelligence Committee know that it was preparing to trade five Guantanamo terrorists for a probably deserter? This is at the root of the entire fiasco that the Obama presidency has become. The I.R.S., to name one prominent example, didn’t require any White House guidance to illegally sabotage conservative non-profits in support of the President’s re-election efforts. It had received the message of the values and priorities of its leader loud and clear, and was behaving accordingly. So did the CIA. So have they all. You see, now it is too late to sent that message in the latest case of Obama subordinate incompetence or misconduct. The President may still end up firing Brennan, but if that happens, the message will be very different—not “This administration insists on honesty and competence,” but rather “Don’t get caught becoming a political liability.” That’s not accountability, and it’s not what matters most in government, or perhaps I should say, what matters most in responsibly, competently, ethically led governments.

There is no accountability here. Without accountability, organizations—companies, armies, agencies, nations— fail. The message of the first sentence is still being broadcast, and will continue to be until this nightmarish presidency comes to an end. The second sentence, in the meantime, will be proven true, as it has always been, since the first Cro Magnon hunter organized the first successful hunting party.

Announcement: I have been avoiding this for a long time, perhaps out of irrational hope, but I cannot avoid it any longer. With this post, the entire Obama Presidency is designated as an Ethics Train Wreck. God save the united States of America.


Sources: Politico, Washington Post, Washington Examiner,

Graphic: Politico



11 thoughts on “Culture Of Unaccountability: Of Course The President Should Fire John Brennan, And Of Course He Won’t

  1. The one dominant feature of this administration’s values is “the ends justify the means.” They have committed themselves through their actions to a different set of ethics. Someone has to guide us through the inevitable violence to reason and decency that will follow and they are the perfect ones to do it since they tore the old structure down. Competence, accountability, decency, rationality, legality, all those old fashioned concepts have to give way to the new reality.
    Hmmmm. Sounds suspiciously like Marx and Engels and Lenin and Trotsky. Wouldn’t you think those ideas had been thoroughly trashed by now?

  2. Incompetence (bumbling but good hearted) could probably be dealt with, without making the “Bumbler” look any worse than necessary. However, when arrogance, lying, dishonesty, ignorance of the law and corruption are added into the mix, as well as a lack of accountability, all is lost. Second the motion of a train wreck, second the motion of God Help The United States Of America. Have I mentioned this week that we are doomed?

      • Absolutely – ethics train wreck. Agreed – superb post. Also agree with the other three posts but have to add that not only does the administration seem to be going in the Socialist/Marxist direction, but following Saul Alinsky and Cloward-Piven as well. I pooh-poohed the thoughts that NWO was a possibility when it was first brought to my attention and the notion that Obama wants to bring America down to the levels of the third-world countries; however, the events of the last year or two are totally mind-boggling and have me wondering: Is Obama really a bumbling idiot, or an arrogant narcissist who can’t accept responsibility for his mistakes, or an immature whiner, or just a petulant, petty human being? Or is he really sinister, intent on changing the character of America until it is no longer the America we have known. The more I learn about him and the people he praises, supports, and surrounds himself with, and the more he speaks off prompter, the more he makes my blood run cold.

        • My wife has been saying, pretty much since he was elected, that we should never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. And I have been replying that yes, this guy IS malicious. I stand by my position…this guy is EVIL and he wishes no good for this country. I think he is doing exactly what he set out to do, and gleefully.

          • Your wife is leaving out a key word, it should be “adequately”. Sometimes, incompetence can explain it but not in a plausible fashion, but not as well as actual malice can. IIRC Jack pointed out once that sometimes Occam’s razor trumps Hanlon’s razor.

  3. There may come a point that you have to give up the “never attribute to malice what you can attribute to incompetence” idea. When does this stop looking like incompetence and starts looking like a deliberate policy of “we will do whatever we want and no one can stop us because we will just lie about it and then accuse them of racism”? Does the pattern look like one of random incompetence, or does it look like people who just decided “we will do anything to get what we want and anything to thwart our enemies, laws be damned”?
    I think the Lois Lerner e-mail drama is a good case in point. From what I can tell, the following things occurred:
    1 Lois Lerner was under investigation and requests for her documents had been made or were expected.
    2 Every certified computer technician in her area was reassigned elsewhere
    3 She claims her computer ‘crashed’, all data was unrecoverable, her drive was recycled, and all backups destroyed
    4 There is no record of a service request to work on her computer, there is no record of anyone working on her computer, there is no record of what happened to her drive
    5 Despite the fact that her e-mails would still have been on the mail server and should have just been downloaded to her e-mail client on her new computer system, those files had been deleted separately
    6 Despite the fact that by now there was definitely a request for her records, they overwrote the backup taped with the data
    7. The computers of all the other people she e-mailed and would have copies do her e-mail also had computer crashes and their email was lost as well
    8. No one seems to think it odd that we can recover data on a hard drive that has been overwritten at least 7 times, but at the IRS, all computer failures do more damage than this to the entire drive.

    Is this still abject incompetence, or was this a whole lot of intentional work?

    • I’ll go further, Michael…I’m getting to a point that I cannot even agree with Jack…there IS accountability. You had better toe the arrogant, malicious and destructive line allowed by the WH or THEN you could get fired.

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