I donít know what John Brennanís religious beliefs are, and I donít really care. Iím not even disturbed that he broke with tradition and didnít use a Bible or other holy book for his swearing in as CIA director. Indeed, I wouldnít mind seeing more of this.
"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," according to the White House. He does not appear to have placed his hand on a Bible, a Torah, a Koran, or other sacred religious text as he said the oath.
Imagine that Ė swearing oneís oath of office upon the Constitution, the document to which one swears fidelity.
On the other hand, the blogger over at Empty Wheel did point out this little detail.
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 ó or any of the other Amendments now included in our Constitution. The Bill of Rights did not become part of our Constitution until 1791, 4 years after the Constitution that Brennan took his oath on.
I really donít mean to be an asshole about this. But these vows always carry a great deal of symbolism. And whether he meant to invoke this symbolism or not, the moment at which Brennan took over the CIA happened to exclude (in symbolic form, though presumably not legally) the key limits on governmental power that protect American citizens.