John O. Brennan couldn’t even finish introducing his family before he was interrupted four times by protesters at his confirmation hearing Thursday to become the new director of the CIA.
Intelligence committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein halted the hearing and pulled Mr. Brennan from the room until it could be cleared of protesters, who she said were affiliated with Code Pink, the anti-war group.
Mr. Brennan, who is President Obama’s homeland security adviser, is one of the chief architects of U.S. policy in the war on terror, and senators said they are eager to question him about the administration’s program to use drones to execute American citizens deemed to be part of the war on terror overseas.
“Think about the mothers,” cried one female protestor.
Others wore signs around their necks bearing the names of people they said were civilian casualties of the lethal U.S. strikes, known to be carried out in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia by armed, remotely piloted drone aircraft.
Local media reports in all three countries say that innocent bystanders are often killed in the strikes, fueling anti-American sentiment and helping extremists recruit.
Once Ms. Feinstein gaveled a recess to the hearing, it set off a stream of other protesters, who had apparently been waiting their turns to disrupt the proceedings but who were now going to be denied their chance.
The hearing resumed after a few minutes with Mr. Brennan telling senators it would be “the greatest honor of my professional life” to lead the CIA.