On Friday, President Obama's recently confirmed CIA director, John Brennan, was sworn into office by Vice-President Joe Biden, not on the Bible, as is custom for nearly every member of Congress and cabinet secretary, but on the original draft of the Constitution.
Of course, the administration wasted no time in pushing the symbolism of this event, only two days after Obama was forced by Sen. Rand Paul to state publicly that he will not kill Americans with drones (at least on U.S. soil).
The White House website states:
Vice President Joe Biden swears in CIA Director John Brennan in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 8, 2013. Members of Brennan's family stand with him. Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution, dating from 1787, which has George Washington's personal handwriting and annotations on it.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters: "Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA."
However, the document upon which Brennan chose to take his oath of office was drafted four years before the Constitution included the Bill of Rights.
Blogger Marcy Wheeler of Empty Wheel reported:
That means, when Brennan vowed to protect and defend the Constitution, he was swearing on one that did not include the First, Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments - or any of the other Amendments now included in our Constitution.
So, yes Brennan's oath was a very symbolic event, and for many it confirmed the fact that this administration is as committed to upholding the rule of law and protecting our rights, as they are to transparency.