John Brennan was finally confirmed as the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by the Senate yesterday, by a vote of 63-34. Brennan’s confirmation comes after quite a bit of stalling because of both his and the Obama White House’s refusal to answer whether or not they have the authority to use drones to assassinate American citizens on American soil.
Following a nearly thirteen hour filibuster by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Wednesday, Brennan was confirmed on Thursday.
Here’s the who’s who in the vote.
Thirty-one Republicans voted with Democrat Senators Patrick Leahy (VT) and Jeff Merkley (OR), along with independent Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) against Brennan’s nomination.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who joined in Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) filibuster, was one of the sixty-three Senators who voted for Brennan’s confirmation. Thirteen Republicans wound up casting their vote for Bennan, including five on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Some of the bigger, and less surprising names are RINO Senators John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Marco Rubio (FL).
Rand Paul voted against John Brennan’s confirmation.
Joel Pollack at Breitbart reports that the votes against Brennan’s confirmation set a record for the largest number of “no” votes ever received by a nominee confirmed to that position.
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The previous record for “no” votes had belonged to Robert Gates, who garnered 31 “no” votes en route to confirmation in late 1991. At that time, the record belonged to the president who appointed him, George H.W. Bush, who received 27 “no” votes in 1976.
Brennan was confirmed after a relatively short but contentious confirmation process in which he faced a last-minute, 13-hour filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) over the administration’s refusal to clarify its position on the domestic use of drone strikes on U.S. citizens. Brennan had overseen the administration’s drone program.
In 2008, Brennan had pulled out of the confirmation process because of concerns among Democrats about his knowledge of, and role in, the George W. Bush administration’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques with terror detainees–a practice that Brennan once supported but later came to oppose. In addition, Brennan’s confirmation was beset by questions about his role in politically-motivated leaks of information from the White House. He also faced questions about the administration’s response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in Sep. 2012. Conservatives also charged that Brennan had shown an obsequious approach to radical Islam–referring, for instance, to Jerusalem as “Al-Quds” and citing the word “jihad” approvingly.