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New CIA director John Brennan on Friday was sworn into office using an original draft copy of the US Constitution, marked up by George Washington, in a show of commitment to the rule of law.
Brennan made the gesture as scrutiny swirls around the CIA over the legality of interrogation techniques previously used on terror suspects and of the US drone war, which is partly conducted by the agency.
Formerly Obama's top White House anti-terror advisor, Brennan chose the document from the National Archives to signal that the United States is a nation of laws, White House spokesman Joshua Earnest said.
"Director Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution that had George Washington's personal handwriting and annotations on it, dating from 1787," Earnest said.
"Before he was sworn in, 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," Earnest said.
George Washington was the general who lead the United States to independence from Britain, was a signer of the Constitution and became America's first president.
The swearing-in ceremony, conducted by Vice President Joe Biden, took place in the Roosevelt Room of the White House and was closed to the press.