Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

CIA boss Brennan on the hot seat

Hearing could shed light on drone strikes

  • Print

WASHINGTON -- A Senate hearing on John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA could lay bare some parts of the secret war against al-Qaida: lethal drone strikes from covert bases against even American terror suspects, harsh interrogation methods and long detention of suspects without due process.

Some of the practices produced revulsion among some in Congress and the public, but the outcry has been muted because Brennan and others say these harsh and secretive methods have saved American lives.

Those issues will be front and centre in the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing today for Brennan -- a chance for him to answer criticism he backed the detention and interrogation policy while he served at the CIA under former U.S. president George W. Bush, charges that stymied his first attempt to head the intelligence agency in 2008.

In answers to questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee before the hearing, Brennan said he was "aware of the program but did not play a role in its creation, execution, or oversight," and added he "had significant concerns and personal objections" to the interrogation techniques.

He wrote he voiced those objections to colleagues at the agency privately.

Brennan also described how individuals are targeted for drone strikes, saying whether a suspect is deemed an imminent threat -- and therefore appropriate for targeting -- is made "on a case-by-case basis through a co-ordinated interagency process" involving intelligence, military, diplomatic and other agencies.

He defended the missile strikes by Predator or Reaper drones as a more humane form of war. Aides have portrayed him as cautious in their use, restraining others at the CIA or military who would use them more often, even though as the White House's counterterror czar he has presided over an explosion of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Fewer than 50 strikes took place during the Bush administration while more than 360 strikes have been launched under President Barack Obama, according to the website The Long War Journal, which tracks the casualties.

Administration officials say Brennan would further limit the use of drones by the CIA and leave the majority of strikes to the military.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others have pressed the White House to show them the classified legal memo that outlines specifically when drones and other lethal strikes may be employed against al-Qaida. An unclassified Justice Department white paper was made public this week, outlining America's authority to kill suspected terrorists with drones, even U.S. citizens, if a case can be made by the CIA or military that they are linked to al-Qaida and have taken part in plots against Americans.

A senior administration official said late Wednesday Obama now has directed the Justice Department to provide the Senate and House intelligence committees access to classified advice from its Office of Legal Counsel on which the white paper was based.

The CIA's drone strikes primarily focus on al-Qaida and Taliban targets in the tribal regions of Pakistan, while the military has launched strikes against al-Qaida targets in Yemen and Somalia.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 7, 2013 A16

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Lindor Reynolds speaks candidly about life with terminal cancer

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Standup- Morning Fog. Horse prances in field by McPhillips Road, north of Winnipeg. 060605.
  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 070619 LIGHTNING ILLUMINATES AN ABANDONED GRAIN ELEVATOR IN THE VILLAGE OF SANFORD ABOUT 10PM TUESDAY NIGHT AS A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS PASSED NEAR WINNIPEG JUST TO THE NORTH OF THIS  SITE.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you still on the Bombers' and Jets' bandwagons?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google