6:00 pm: Hearing adjourned.
5:50 pm: Sen Collins responds to Brennan saying Al Qaeda has “metastasized” asking if that indicates a need to change strategy.
5:41 pm: Sen Wyden asks Brennan if Americans who are authorized to be killed should have an opportunity to surrender.
Brennan says any American joining Al Qaeda should realize that they run the risk of being killed.
5:34 pm: Brennan tells Sen Burr information on “terrorism playbook” in press most likely not classified. If it was it will be investigated.
5:20 pm: Sen Feinstein believes the popular uproar over drones is due to Americans not knowing about those Americans killed and asks Brennan to focus on Al Awlaki.
Brennan claims Al Awlaki was “not just a propagandist.”
5:17 pm: Sen King proposes a “FISA-type process” for drone strikes on American citizens as some check on the executive branch.
Brennan says it is “worthy of discussion” but claims drone strikes are not about past guilt or innocence but to take actions to prevent future action.
5:09 pm: Brennan tells Sen Heinrich that he will consider declassifying intelligence report on EIT/torture program.
5:04 pm: Brennan claims the difference in releases of torture/EIT program memos and OLC drone strike memos is due to the torture program being closed down while the drone program continues.
5:00 pm: Sen Collins asks if the increased drone strikes from the Obama Administration are attributable to the changes in the detention program.
Brennan says no, that there has never been an instance where a drone strike was used when a terrorist could be captured.
4:56 pm: Brennan says the CIA has to be active in social media, as demonstrated by the Arab Spring.
4:48 pm: Brennan says the CIA has no statutory authority to detain people. DoD does under war powers, FBI under Article 3, while the CIA has none.
This was in response to Sen Rubio’s concern that Tunisia released a suspect in the Benghazi embassy attack.
4:41 pm: Sen Rubio asks Brennan about his statements saying that interrogations should not be done by the CIA.
Brennan says Defense Department or FBI would be better at interrogations. CIA should only lend its expertise.
4:35 pm: Sen Udall wants Brennan to correct inaccuracies in the official and unofficial records regarding the EIT/torture program.
Brennan promises to review the records.
4:27 pm: Sen Coats questions Brennan on IED leak.
Coats asks if Brennan violated leak rules by acknowledging “insider control” to unauthorized persons which therefore exposed a double agent within Al-Qaeda, blowing the operation.
4:18 pm: John Brennan says he is unaware of any information linking EIT to intelligence about the courier that helped the Osama Bin Laden operation.
Brennan has directly refuted a key plot point in the film Zero Dark Thirty.
4:12 pm: Sen Levin asks Brennan if waterboarding is torture.
Brennan says waterboarding is “reprehensible” but will not call it torture. Says he is not a lawyer (continually).
4:04 pm: Sen Risch questions Brennan over leak concerning the existence of a double agent in al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen who exposed the group’s underwear bomb plot last year. Brennan claims to have discussed the issues with communications staff at the White House after the press learned of the story.
3:53 pm: Brennan says drone strikes are never punishment always about preventing threats. Brennan says protesters are reacting to falsehoods.
Brennan claims to believe in “optimizing transparency” regarding drone strikes. Claims drone strikes are last resort and used judiciously.
Brennan claims US government should publicly acknowledge drone strike mistakes.
3:50 pm: Sen Wyden questions whether DOJ allowed Senators access to all documents as promised by President Obama – claims DOJ is stonewalling and not following through on White House’s commitment.
3:44 pm: Brennan claims to have never divulged classified information to reporters – claims to have spoken to editors and reporters in attempts to keep stories from publication.
Sen Burr wonders whether Brennan talked to reporters and other unauthorized person about classified operations.
3:40 pm: Sen Burr claims CIA has been slow in giving documents to Senate regarding Benghazi attacks.
3:34 pm: Sen Rockefeller says “any collateral damage is unacceptable” from drone program. Claims EIT program’s benefits were overstated.
3:31 pm: Sen Rockefeller reiterates Sen Feinstein’s point and opposition to Senate staff being banned from seeing OLC memos.
3:23 pm: Sen. Chambliss says there is no evidence of Brennan’s opposition to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.
Brennan disagrees with former CIA colleagues claims that Brennan was part of establishing of EIT program and using it on Abu Sayyaf.
Brennan says the interrogation yielded positive results.
3:19 pm: Sen. Chambliss asked Brennan why he advised CIA Director Tenet to not go forward with operation against Bin Laden previous to 9/11.
Brennan says the operation was too risky and does not regret advising against it.
3:15 pm: Feinstein asked Brennan if Enhanced Interrogation Techniques were useful in taking down Osama Bin Laden.
Brennan says CIA has not finished its report.
3:11 pm: Sen. Feinstein said she was not given access to Office of Legislative Counsel memos concerning drones until last night. Feinstein wants 8 more OLC opinions.
Feinstein says Senate staff was banned from seeing OLC memos.
3:04 pm: Brennan asserts that America is under cyber attack every day from other nations and that Iran is committed to gaining a nuclear weapon.
2:57 pm Hearing reconvenes as Brennan thanks David Petraeus.
2:52 pm: Sen Feinstein has ordered the room cleared and Code Pink activists banned from returning. Recess.
2:50 pm: Brennan’s opening statement interrupted by protesters on
two three occasions so far.
2:45 pm: Brennan is introduced by Senator Warner (D-VA) saying Brennan is committed to transparency and the rule of law.
2:43 pm: Sen. Chambliss, vice chairman, focuses on detention policies saying there has been a reversion to pre 9/11 policies.
2:35 pm: Sen. Feinstein says no longer useful to pretend drone program no longer exists.
2:27 pm EST: Senator Diane Feinstein has ordered the room cleared from protesters as Brennan enters the hearing room.
John Brennan, current chief counter-terrorism advisor to President Obama, goes before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today in hopes of being confirmed as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Though the hearing will undoubtedly cover many issues, most prominent on the committee’s agenda is Brennan’s role in the Drone Assassination Program that has targeted American citizens.