WASHINGTON - A US Senate panel voted 12-3 behind closed doors Tuesday to recommend the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat and the panel’s chairwoman, said she scheduled the closed-session vote on Brennan after the White House agreed to supply the committee with classified Justice Department memos outlining the legal rationale for the drone strikes.
Feinstein said the release of the legal opinions should help ease confirmation for Brennan. “I have reached an agreement with the White House to provide the committee access to all (Office of Legal Counsel) opinions related to the targeted killing of Americans in a way that allows members to fulfil their oversight responsibilities,” Feinstein said in a statement. “I am pleased the administration has made this information available. It is important for the committee to do its work and will pave the way for the confirmation of John Brennan to be CIA director.” But Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, says he wants to know if Brennan believes the United States may legally use drones to conduct strikes on US soil, and threatens to delay the nomination until he gets an answer, Politico reported.
Also, Senators John McCain, Republican, Lindsey Graham, Republican, and Kelly Ayotte, Republican, threaten to delay Brennan’s confirmation if they do not get additional information about the Sept 11 attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“Senators deserve answers to questions,” McCain told reporters Tuesday. “That’s our constitutional responsibility. It’s been a month now since we’ve asked the questions, and I hope we get the answers.”
A former top CIA official, Brennan is President Barack Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, and is considered the architect of the administration’s drone strike policy.