OTG Strongly Opposes Sen. Tom Cotton’s Potential Appointment as CIA Director


November 30, 2017

Cotton’s Troubling History Supporting Excessive Secrecy and Fighting Transparency Makes him Unfit to Serve as CIA Chief, Says OTG

WASHINGTON – Open the Government, a leading advocate for transparency to promote government accountability, expressed its firm opposition today to Sen. Tom Cotton’s potential appointment as CIA Director. While he has not yet been selected, The New York Times reported today that Cotton is the White House’s top choice for the job and that “Cotton has signaled that he would accept the job if offered.” Sen. Tom Cotton is Unfit to Lead CIA

“Cotton’s troubling history on issues of excessive secrecy make him the wrong choice to lead the CIA,“ said Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “He has long been a foe of open government and transparency, and often believes the public doesn’t have the right to know critical information about how their government operates.”

The Republican Senator from Arkansas:

  • Supported making unconstitutional, warrantless surveillance programs, used to spy on Americans, permanent
  • Supported expanded use of the secretive drone strike program
  • Declared that waterboarding isn’t torture
  • Favored keeping the controversial prison open at Guantanamo Bay
  • Wrote a letter that called for the prosecution and imprisonment of two New York Times’ reporters, Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, who had just broken a story about how the government was tracking terrorist financing

“Cotton’s penchant for cloak and dagger secrecy suggests that if he is made director, the operations of the CIA will be pushed deeper into the shadows,” said OTG’s Rosenberg. “There are many Americans who are qualified to direct the CIA, but Sen. Cotton is not one of them.”

Open the Government is a Washington-based non-partisan coalition of good-and-limited government groups, environmentalists, journalists, library and consumer groups, labor, and others united to make the federal government a more open place in order to ensure integrity and accountability in the operation of our governing institutions, foster confidence in representative government, and support our democratic principles.