Brennan, approved by committee, still faces battle from Republicans
March 5th, 2013
03:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Brennan, approved by committee, still faces battle from Republicans

Washington (CNN) – John Brennan, nominated last month by President Barack Obama to become the next CIA director, came one step closer Tuesday to assuming that role after being approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

But the former top counterterrorism adviser still faces a battle in the full Senate, where some Republicans have vowed to stall his nomination until they receive answers about the country's drone program and the September attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

The intelligence panel voted 12-3 to send Brennan's nomination to the full Senate. The committee vote was delayed twice as members received and processed classified documents relating to the White House's targeted killing program, which includes the use of unmanned drones to kill suspected terrorists.

"There were some inconsistencies in his presentation before the committee and I think we've got to have a stronger trust relationship with the CIA than what I felt like Mr. Brennan could bring," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, one of the three who voted against Brennan.

The Obama administration agreed Tuesday to provide members of the 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. Sen. Rand Paul, a conservative Republican from Kentucky, has said he would hold up a vote on Brennan until more details on the drone program are released by the Obama administration.

Brennan 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 threatening to hold up a vote on Brennan's nomination in the full Senate, has 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, is also demanding answers about the September attack in Benghazi, Libya, before the agree to proceed with a Senate vote on Brennan.

"I'm not going to vote on a new CIA director until I find out what the CIA did in Benghazi," Graham said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Graham specifically wants to see the interviews of the survivors. While transcriptions were provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee – of which Graham is not a member – Graham said "everything was blacked out."

Graham and McCain have been leading voices on the charge against the administration over the attack, which killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

Filed under: CIA • John Brennan
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Shoreboy

    The Republicans put national security at risk for political posturing. Sad.

    March 5, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Michael

    In the 2008 presidential campaign Obama harshly criticized the Bush Administration for the drone strikes. Since Obama became president he has substantially increased the tempo of drone attacks. Why the big change? Could it be that there really are bad people out there who want to kill Americans? Do you mean to tell me that Bush really was trying to protect the United States?

    March 5, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    Stop this Nomination Now ! Not one more step by the WHOLE Federal Govt. until we find out what really happened to VINCE FOSTER !!

    March 5, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. whiteamerican

    hey, stop the nomination now..Remember our primary objective is to make Obama a one term president..Oh no we failed at our one objective.. I guess we Repubs are just full of it! Rebs, you lost the war, the elections, another elections...just go away!

    March 5, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Jack

    Drone strikes ok provide the legal backing. Also his stance on torture. But are we going to do the Benghazi thing again like with Hagel? Really? Let them rest in peace. But I know some wont let it go until they find anything to support what they have already decided.

    March 5, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. chilly g

    the republicans is hurting the country all in an effect to damage the president, they do not care that what they is doing is hurting the country. there only concern is to damage the president.

    March 5, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Donna

    Good. Block him until the deceitful Obama administration releases everything and comes clean on what happened in Benghazi. Unless this is done, the American people will never know the full extent of the incompetence that now inhabits the Whitehouse and the other agencies. Four Americans died and the American people, as well as their families, are owed the truth. And the truth has had to be pried out of this deceitful corrupt adminstration every step of the way. So much for Mr. Transparency. More like Mr. Coverup.

    March 5, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. rs

    Every time a Republican gums up the workings of our government, they lose popularity, they lose voters. Keep it up guys. Remember the "Know-Nothings"?

    March 5, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Bill Bixby

    @Shoreboy Barry puts politics ahead of nation security on a daily basis.

    March 5, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Hillcrester

    I want complete info, including interrogration videotapes, about who aided John Wilkes Booth.

    March 5, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. bill in florida

    The GOP continues to obsess about 4 adults killed in Benghazi while ignoring the 1,000+ killed in the US by guns this year alone.

    March 5, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. bill in florida

    Hey Donna,

    Maybe you're not up on your current events, but OBAMA GOT OSAMA. That's not incompetence.

    March 5, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. JJ

    McCain hell bent on what? Finding out why he didn't go to the briefing way back when? Fricking useless geezer ought to be put to pasture and turned into glue.

    March 5, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. TheSheesh

    @Shoreboy: Yeah, because trying to figure just exactly what happened in Benghazi shouldn't concern Americans at all, right? We shouldn't be worried if our own government and CIA officials were the direct cause of an American ambassador being killed, anyone who wants to know about that must just be trying to push their own political agenda. The questions being asked are legitimate and should have been answered a long time ago.

    March 5, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Celeste Ridley Adams

    OH GOD! The Flock of GOP fools gathering again to look stupid, irresponsible, wounded and reckless, while weighting the world down for maybe being slow learners’, a quick prime time comic interview, maybe showing their true colors or just delight themselves with acts of terror because they can hold Americans down while risking citizen’s financial security, physical, mental security and safety for our nation, with no end game other than to vote them out!

    March 5, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. bull

    "Sen. John McCain, one the Republican lawmakers threatening to hold up a vote on Brennan's nomination in the full Senate, has questioned Brennan's stance of torture, "

    My question to McCain, why don't you raise the issue of torture to Bush/Cheney? And has McCain tied anything to make Cheney pay what he has done to our nation?

    March 5, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Mr. Ryan

    Bunch of sad kool-aid drinkers on here....
    Holder just said it's ok to kill americans on american soil with drones. What about Brennen?

    March 5, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |

    Wat to go republicans each and every one should be run out of the country . you care nothing for the country and the poor elderly and working class 95%. go on keep making fools out of your selves. we will remember in 2014 & 2016.

    March 5, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |