In 1976, future CIA director John Brennan was a college student disgusted by Watergate and the “system” that produced it. As the young Brennan surveyed the political landscape, only one candidate seemed to be speaking the truth about the need for real change (and/or the dictatorship of the proletariat) — Communist Party nominee Gus Hall.
But by 1980, Brennan grown out of Marxist-Leninism, realized American-style capitalism was the one true way, and decided to devote his life to Uncle Sam’s intelligence apparatus. Or so that former pinko now claims.
Last week, during a panel discussion on diversity in the intelligence community, Brennan revealed the unique background he brought with him to the CIA. He recalled the polygraph test he took when entering the agency — and the hair-raising moment when he was asked whether he had ever been associated with a group dedicated to overthrowing the United States.
“I froze,” Brennan said. “This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate.”
The CIA director continued:
I said I was neither Democratic or Republican, but it was my way, as I was going to college, of signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change. I said I’m not a member of the Communist Party, so the polygrapher looked at me and said, ‘OK,’ and when I was finished with the polygraph and I left and said, ‘Well, I’m screwed.’
But the CIA saw something special in this former dissident — or else his interviewer was also a crypto-Stalinist. Either way, he got his national-security clearance.
And Congress doesn’t appear anxious to take it away now.
“I really am not interested in how the CIA director voted decades ago,” Oregon senator Ron Wyden told BuzzFeed, while leaving a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing Thursday.
New Mexico senator Martin Heinrich told the outlet, “I think I’m going to let that one go.”
So no more worries, comrade Brennan! You’re off the hook. Time to kick back with your dog-eared copy of Das Kapital — or order a drone strike. You do you.