WASHINGTON— CIA Director-designate John Brennan’s vigorous defense of drone strikes to kill terror suspects — even American citizens — overseas is causing key lawmakers to consider lifting secrecy from what has become an important weapon in the fight against al-Qaida.
Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top counterterror adviser, was grilled for more than three hours Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the drone program he leads, as well as on the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques during the Bush administration, which he denounced, and on leaks of classified information to the media, which Brennan vehemently denied being a part of.
Despite Brennan’s wide-ranging testimony and the White House’s release of a top secret memo explaining its legal rationale for the strikes just hours before the confirmation hearing began, some senators said afterward it was time to bring the drone program into the open.
In a hearing that was interrupted by anti-drone protests that brought it to a brief halt and forced Capitol Hill security to empty the room of all but credentialed staff and media, Brennan told the committee that missile strikes by the unmanned drones are used only against targets planning to carry out attacks against the United States, never as retribution for an earlier one.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he declared.
Read More at OfficialWire . By Kimberly Dozier.