Senators including a number of Democrats are seeking answers from the nominee of President Obama for CIA director about very harsh interrogations and the drone killings that have targeted terrorist in the Middle East.
John Brennan the nominee facing a grilling at the Senate hearing for his confirmation about the misdeeds and mistakes at the CIA over the past 10 years, which ranged from the leaking of classified information to abuse of some detainees.
The public hearing was highly unusual and put a rare spotlight on the CIA that operated in the shadows. Both Democratic and Republican Senators pushed Brennan for his opinions of certain covert programs that have earned headlines, including the expanded use by the administration of drone aircraft targeted killings.
The confirmation of Brennan is all but assured. However, the questioning was reflective of the frustrations the Senate Intelligence Committee has, which has fought with the White House administration over having access to documents that are classified. The committee is also upset that no public hearings over the drone attacks that have killed over 3,000 people in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan over the past four years.
Brennan said al-Qaeda operative including those who are citizens of the U.S. have the right to give themselves up however, the highflying drones do not offer them the opportunity.
If he is confirmed, Brennan will run a spy service that is facing budget cuts following a decade of seeing its budget increased, as well as intelligence challenges over North Korea, Iran, cyber-espionage and nuclear proliferation.