The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted Tuesday to confirm John O. Brennan, the Obama administration’s top counterterrorism adviser, as the next CIA director, after the White House released a cache of secret legal opinions authorizing the use of drones to kill terrorism suspects, including Americans.
The 12-3 vote paves the way for Mr. Brennan’s nomination to go to the Senate floor for a final confirmation vote. While the vote had not yet been scheduled as of Tuesday night, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle suggested it will occur by the end of the week and that Mr. Brennan will likely be confirmed.
“I don’t intend to encourage a filibuster of Mr. Brennan. I think it will run its normal course and he’ll probably be confirmed,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the intelligence committee’s ranking member and one of three Republicans on the panel who voted against Mr. Brennan on Tuesday.
Several lawmakers had stalled the vote from going forward in recent weeks amid heated debate in Washington over the drone program and ongoing Republican skepticism toward the administration for its response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Emerging from Tuesday’s vote, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and the intelligence panel’s chairwoman, said “both of those issues have been addressed” and that she was “confident” they “have been resolved.”
Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, declined to comment but gave a thumbs down sign as he walked away from reporters asking how he voted.
Earlier on Tuesday, two Democrats and one Republican on the intelligence committee said they were satisfied by the Obama administration’s move to release several legal documents related to the drone program.
“We appreciate that the executive branch has provided us with the documents needed to consider this nomination,” Sens. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, and Susan M. Collins, Maine Republican, said in a joint statement. “We anticipate supporting the nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the CIA.”
The confirmation process has been slowed by questions from both sides of the aisle about the use of remotely piloted drone aircraft to kill suspected al Qaeda leaders, including Americans.
While Mr. Wyden, Mr. Udall and Ms. Collins praised President Obama’s willingness to share related documents with a small number of lawmakers, they said that “the appropriate next step should be to bring the American people into this debate and for Congress to consider ways to ensure that the President’s sweeping authorities are subject to appropriate limitations, oversight, and safeguards.”
The lawmakers also said they were “pleased” because the White House had also agreed to “provide public, unclassified information about its position on when people suspected of terrorism can be killed legally on American soil.”View Entire Story
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Guy Taylor rejoined The Washington Times in 2011 as the State Department correspondent.
As a freelance journalist, Taylor’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund For Investigative Journalism, and his stories appeared in a variety publications, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to Salon, Reason, Prospect Magazine of London, the Daily Star of Beirut, the ...
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