March 7th, 2013
03:30 PM ET
1 year ago

Brennan confirmed for CIA after drone delay

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Senate approved John Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency Thursday after a Republican senator ended his delay of the vote earlier in the day.

Brennan was confirmed by a 63-34 vote that crossed party lines. His elevation to the post was widely expected, though he faced vocal opposition from critics like Sen. Rand Paul, who filibustered the vote and demanded more answers from President Barack Obama's administration on when they might use unmanned drones to target Americans suspected of being terrorists.

Paul, who led the marathon session on the Senate floor that officially ended Thursday afternoon, said he was satisfied with a response from the Justice Department over whether the president has the authority to use a drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil. Attorney General Eric Holder said firmly that he did not.

Earlier, the Obama administration agreed to provide members of the Senate Intelligence Committee with additional legal opinions related to the targeted killings of Americans who are involved in terror-related activities that threaten the United States or its interests. The White House had previously turned over other opinions about the drone operation to the committee, but some members wanted more information before agreeing to vote on Brennan's nomination.

Brennan has been a top architect of the Obama administration's drone program, which came under scrutiny after the killing of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in September 2011. He was grilled on the program during confirmation hearings, along with his stance on torture methods that were used during the administration of former President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the September 11, 2011 terror attacks.

Sen. John McCain, one the Republican lawmakers who threatened to hold up a vote on Brennan's nomination in the full Senate, questioned Brennan's stance of torture, saying two weeks ago on CNN's "State of the Union" he was unclear where the nominee stood on the issue.

"Mr. Brennan said he was opposed to waterboarding and torture, but at the same time he has said it has saved lives. I would like to know what lives were saved because the information I have is it saved no one's life. In fact, it was a lot of misinformation," he told CNN's Candy Crowley.

McCain, along with fellow GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, also demanded answers about the September attack in Benghazi, Libya. The two Republicans have been leading voices on the charge against the administration over the attack, which killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

Brennan will replace retired Gen. David Petraeus and acting CIA Director Michael Morell at the CIA. Petraeus stepped down from his post in November amid revelations he had engaged in an extramarital affair with his biographer. Morell, a career intelligence officer who was serving as the spy agency's deputy director, stepped in as acting CIA director upon Petraeus' resignation.


Filed under: CIA • John Brennan
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Bob from Brooklyn

    The Senate is full of evil.

    March 7, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Bob from Brooklyn

    Graham, McCain, Gillibrand, Schumer, et al who voted for this evil doer Brennan. Shame on you. The people know you don't represent us. Retire, quit the senate. You old white devils.

    March 7, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "Mr. Brennan said he was opposed to waterboarding and torture, but at the same time he has said it has saved lives. I would like to know what lives were saved because the information I have is it saved no one's life. In fact, it was a lot of misinformation," he [Sen. McCain] told CNN's Candy Crowley.
    ----------------------
    Did Sen. McCain really just say that waterboarding didn't save any lives? I know that he's always against its' use, but I had thought that he was 'In Like Flint" with the "waterboarding led to Bin Laden" crowd.

    March 7, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. Republicans; the "Not Intended to be Factually Accurate" Party

    Wouldn`t the writer of the article be more accurate if he had said that "the vote BARELY crossed political lines"? The pact is that the vote was largely partisan. And since there were 63 votes, why did we have to go through the motions of a delay / fillibuster? SIXTY of the 63 should have said, let`s get on with this.

    Harry Reid has been fooled, hoodwinked, used & abused. The Republicans are still gumming up the works with fillibusters despite promises not to. There are 100`s of Obama judicial nominees being held up by the GOP. This impacts the courts ability to deliver justice to the citizens. I`d have expected Harry Reid to have handeled this. Perhaps he should hand the reins over to Schumer.

    March 7, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. BK

    @Bob from Brooklyn
    " Retire, quit the senate. You old white devils."

    Dude, whats up with the Zulu witch doctor smack?

    March 7, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. mikemc58

    that's ok he's so old he'll be gone soon
    I hope he take the old Senators with him

    March 7, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Fred Phred

    Hope it was worth your 13 hours, Rand Paul..

    March 7, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Red Pison

    The CIA is evil so this is fitting.

    March 7, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. ghostriter

    Sen. John McCain, one the Republican lawmakers who threatened to hold up a vote on Brennan's nomination in the full Senate, questioned Brennan's stance of torture, saying two weeks ago on CNN's "State of the Union" he was unclear where the nominee stood on the issue.

    "Mr. Brennan said he was opposed to waterboarding and torture, but at the same time he has said it has saved lives. I would like to know what lives were saved because the information I have is it saved no one's life. In fact, it was a lot of misinformation," he told CNN's Candy Crowley.

    Whoops! Guess they forgot to mention that one back in the day. You know, when there was a hearing on this. Of course, republicans weren't interested in hearings back then. Now, they are all the rage.

    March 7, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Fred Phred

    Oh he droned an American citizen.. wah...

    a dirty stinking terrrorist who got what was coming to him.

    Here's a tip, stay out of the terrorist video business and you won't have to worry about dones – American citizen or not.

    March 7, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Norm

    Rand Paul.....holding up the business of the country to start his 2016 presidential campaign early.
    And Republicans complain about Obama campaigning....LOL...
    But I guess this guy doing it is ok...right righties?

    March 7, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Pete

    [13 hours after Paul's yammering] Go look up the Law of Unintended Consequences, Rand.

    March 7, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    WHITE? isnt this HATE speech?

    March 7, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. jake

    appropriate headline – paul droned on and on and on and.............

    March 7, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Ryan

    The terrorist attacks were Sept. 11, 2001, not 2011...

    March 7, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. gladiatorgrl

    so after all that hot air he gets confirmed – what a WASTE OF TIME the GOP is.

    March 7, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Tylenol666

    Wasnt that a scene from the West Wing? anything to be on the news I guess :P

    March 7, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Bill Bixby

    Well any faith I had in our Congress is completely gone. (Not that there was any faith in them anyway. Heck might as well just disband Congress at this point.)

    March 7, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. freedom

    Don't trust Brennan or anyone Obama is putting in his cabinet. Hagel can't even speak coherently. Our national security depends on the Commander-in-Chief, who just allowed knives to be taken on planes. He is putting American citizens in harm's way. That is an impeachable offense.

    March 7, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. ghostriter

    Gotta love conservatives. They complain about the CNN not mentioning the letter Holder sent to Paul....on the same article that specifically states the letter to Paul.

    March 7, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. ghostriter

    freedom, you guys complained about TSA security, now you got one less thing to worry about. Besides, aren't you man enough to take out a platoon of soldiers? What's one guy with a knife gonna do when you are around?

    March 7, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

    I'm sure people like Rand Paul are concerned about drones and they should be since the base that supports them are planning FOR tyranny.

    March 7, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. GIUK

    It's too bad the confirmation is at an end. I so loved hearing the paranoid rantings of the right wing dweebs such as Rand Paul. He should put out a CD, and MP3 of his rantings. They'd sell like hotcakes.

    March 7, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Mike S.

    Glad that is over with. Now Brennan can get back to making terrorists look like the contents of a can of Alpo.

    March 7, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Firstname Lastname

    Rand Paul got your balls! Hahahahahahah!!!

    March 7, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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