The Senate questioned John O. Brennan as part of the requirements for the CIA director position and the resulting hearing has caused many to question the use of drone strikes.
Brennan withdrew his nomination during Obama’s first term, some say because of support of waterboarding torture during the George W. Bush administration. The Senate grilled Brennan on why drone strikes drastically increased during his time as Obama’s top counterterrorism advisor while captured suspects have decreased to nearly none.
Protestors in the audience interrupted Brennan as he spoke. However, Brennan kept a confident appearance and even seemed quarrelsome at points during the heated session. He expressed dismay concerning the public’s perception of drone strikes.
When questioned about the secrecy that goes on with a drone strikes, Brennan added that he believes officials need to acknowledge when a civilian is killed. California democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein noted that she believes the administration is a victim of their own secrecy. Claiming that because the operations are classified, to the public, the drone campaigns don’t exist.
The Senate nominated Brennan as the next director for the CIA. Laura W. Murphy, the director of the Washington office of the ALCU cautioned that “the Senate should assess the legality of his actions in past leadership positions” and any role that Brennan may have had “in torture, abuse, secret prisons, and extraordinary rendition during his past tenure at the CIA”.