Thursday, March 7, 2013

Brennan Confirmed as CIA Director

After a protracted and unpredictable Washington political drama, the Senate voted Thursday to confirm John Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The vote was 63-34. Senators voted 81-16 moments earlier to cut off debate on Mr. Brennan's nomination.

Brennan_Confirmed as CIA Director

The votes come after days of turmoil over his nomination, mostly keyed to a broader debate about the authority of the U.S. targeted killing program to strike at American noncombatants on U.S. soil.

On Wednesday, Sen.Rand Paul (R., Ky.) launched a surprise filibuster of the nomination, speaking through the night and demanding a statement by the Obama administration that such strikes are unconstitutional.

Attorney General Eric Holder provided a written response on Thursday, declaring that the president doesn't have authority to use a weaponized, unmanned drone to kill an American who is not engaged in combat on U.S. soil.

Mr. Holder made his point in a letter to Mr. Paul, in which he wrote: "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer is no."

"I'm very pleased to have gotten this response back," Mr. Paul said on the Senate floor. "Americans should see this battle that we've had in the last 24 hours as something that is good for the country."

In an earlier letter, Mr. Holder appeared to allude to circumstances where a drone strike on an individual in the U.S. would be permissible.

After that letter, Mr. Paul demanded the White House agree that it would be unconstitutional to kill an American not engaged in combat. Mr. Holder's letter Thursday appears to meet that demand, and could end the argument between Mr. Paul and the administration over the use of armed U.S. drones.

Mr. Paul spoke from just before noon Wednesday until after midnight Thursday morning to protest the lack of clarity in the administration's view.


Post a Comment