Senate Panel Delays Brennan’s CIA Director Confirmation Vote

On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee decided to postpone a vote for confirmation of Obama’s nominee, John Brennan, to Central Intelligence Agency Director (CIA). Democrats were hopeful of voting on confirmation of Brennan on Thursday.

Reuters reports,

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No explanation for the delay was immediately available. However, the Obama administration has been at odds with members of the committee’s Democratic majority over White House unwillingness to disclose some highly classified legal documents related to “targeted killings,” including the use of lethal drone strikes against suspected militants.

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While the administration allowed members of the intelligence committee to review copies of four such documents, it has refused to turn over what Senate officials believe are at least seven related memos.

On Wednesday, administration officials met with intelligence committee members to discuss the contents of the disputed documents. Copies of the material were not turned over to the committee, however, said a source familiar with the matter.

Major issues have come up in the Brennan confirmation hearings in which he has been unwilling to answer, especially whether or not he believes the Federal government has the authority to assassinate US citizens on US soil. I’m actually going to be watching Senator Rand Paul closely on this one since he caved on the Hagel confirmation. For he has been very vocal on the fact that he wants that question addressed by Brennan and has sent him numerous letters stating that if he doesn’t get answers that are “satisfactory,” he’ll look to block the confirmation.

Senator Roy Wyden (D-OR) said, “Americans have a right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them, and that’s what getting these documents.”

“I’ve made it very clear to the White House that we need those legal analyses before we vote,” Wyden said. However, he added: “There is certainly additional time to work this out.”

Fox News reports,

“We will see if that (a vote scheduled for next Tuesday) actually happens or not,” Chris Anders, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU told Fox News, referring to the Tuesday committee vote. “If it doesn’t, that’s a pretty big signal this nomination is in trouble largely over this (drone) issue.”

Anders points to the fact that the Brennan confirmation has already been pushed back two weeks over a handful of issues ranging from the Benghazi terrorist attack to drones, including the growing bipartisan push on Capitol Hill for the Obama White House to release all the legal memos justifying the targeted killing of American citizens overseas. During a rare hearing devoted to the drone issue Wednesday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said the Obama administration must do more explaining.

“The American people deserve to know and understand the legal basis under which the Obama administration believes it can kill U.S. citizens, and under what circumstances,” Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said, “The confirmation process should be about the nominees and their ability to do the jobs they’re nominated for. As the confirmation hearings clearly showed, John Brennan is extraordinarily qualified to head the CIA, and the President needs him in place now. We face enormous national security and intelligence challenges across the globe, and to hold up these nominees for unrelated reasons is not in our national security interests.”

With Brennan being less than forthcoming, there should be great opposition to his confirmation. Attorney General Eric Holder will be before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and it is expected that pressure will be applied to Fast and Furious AG on the drone issue, but as with the hearings on Fast and Furious, I’m expecting him to be just as silent.

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