Skip to main content

There are a lot of questions for John Brennan's confirmation hearing today and only a few hours scheduled to ask them.  

Many questions have been published by various news organizations and blogs.  I very much want answers to their questions but I have one big, obvious question as well.  This is my question:

What has changed since 2008-9 when John Brennan was considered to be too toxic to be confirmed as Director of the CIA?  What is so different now that he is expected to be easily confirmed and that only a few hours are needed to question him?

In my opinion, he is even less confirmable in 2013 than he was in 2009.  So what has changed?  I'll explain more about why I think he is even less suited for the job today, but first, let's explore some of the questions posed by the media.

Most of the questions from journalists center around the targeted killing laws and the drone programs and about John Brennan's actions and background. There aren't many other questions about the operation of the CIA, though there are some.

This is not surprising, in my view.

The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice.
Link



Questions for John Brennan from journalists


A fair number of journalists, both mainstream media journalists and citizen journalists have many questions for John Brennan and have published them in the past week or so.  Some of these questions are also undoubtedly for President Obama.  Frankly, I wonder why the media has not been flooded with more such questions and for the life of me I cannot understand why only a few hours have been scheduled for a few senators to ask such questions, the only ones who can formally ask these questions when Brennan is under oath.  I should note that this is not a full accounting of questions that have been documented by journalists.

Brennan has submitted answers to some questions in writing already, and you can find two PDF documents here, but personally, I am not satisfied by the answers in these documents and I don't find the answers to be very enlightening.  Hopefully the senators on the intelligence committee will use the time that they have very well, minimizing opening statements and bloviating.

Prehearing questionaire for completion by presidential nominees (PDF)

Additional Prehearing Questions for Mr. John O. Brennan upon his nomination to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (PDF)



The New Yorker


Amy Davidson from The New Yorker wants to know whom the president can kill and she wants a better definition of some of the fuzzy terms that are in the white paper that was leaked this week on the topic.  Toward the end of the article she uses the

It is appropriate to ask Brennan, the Drone Assassination Czar, this question since he has been at the center of this program.

You know, it doesn't get much more serious than this, and yet, there is a relatively small amount clamor for this question to be answered.  It feels surreal.  I think most Americans have no idea and think it could never happen here.  

Some senators, particularly Sen. Wyden have been asking the president to release the memos that justify killing Americans with no due process (or rather with the Obama/Holder new age due process) for two years now.  He should not have to ask the president for this.   The Constitution says that Congress has oversight over the executive and could there even BE a bigger question than this?  Yet the president denied this request and has only now released two memos (there might be more) to the intelligence committees.  There is no declassified version.  So our president claims the right to unilaterally kill American citizens, anywhere on the globe, including on American soil, but he will not disclose to those same citizens the specific reasons why he might target you.  

John Brennan was the man who was in charge of the operation that killed at least one American citizen, al-Awlaki, and there are still quite a few questions and contradicting pieces of information around that.  And yet Brennan will face only a few hours of questioning from the Senate intelligence committee today.

WHOM CAN THE PRESIDENT KILL?

The question isn’t whether al-Awlaki, who worked with Al Qaeda, was an innocent—the question is at what point he crossed the line and became killable without any judicial proceedings, and when, by extension, the rest of us could be put on a “kill list.”

[...]

A few weeks before the Stevenson speech, Nixon offered his own rationalization, in which he said that we were taking our war into Cambodia because the United States could not act “like a pitiful, helpless giant” [...] In our great universities, in the days that followed, there were protests and outrage at the expansion of the war. Between Nixon’s speech and Stevenson’s came the Kent and Jackson State shootings, where students who didn’t want the United States to go into Cambodia were killed, along with bystanders, by the National Guard and the police.

[...]

What if those students had been Americans at a university in, say, Paris, who formed a group to protest a war? Could a President who read the D.O.J.’s white paper tell himself that they were an “associated force” based in a foreign country, or that, if they succeeded in mobilizing Congress or public opinion against what it considered a necessary military action, that they would pose an “imminent threat”? Could he kill them then? Could he do so now?



ThinkProgress


ThinkProgress wants some answers about the policy and direction of the drone programs and about the end game of the war on terror.

The One Question Congress Must Ask Before Confirming Obama’s CIA Director

[...] but the hearing presents the perfect opportunity to get the current top Obama administration counterterrorism official perhaps most closely involved in the targeted killing program against al Qaeda to answer the fundamental question about it: when does it end?

[...]

In the aftermath of the failed Christmas Day bombing in 2009, Brennan authored a scathing review of what was then U.S. counterterrorism policy. [...]

[...] In a profile written in the Washington Post, Brennan is identified as the primary supporter of codifying the rules regarding when and where armed drone strikes could be carried out into what’s now called “the playbook” and the benign-sounding disposition matrix that identifies targets for strikes.
So Brennan, then, is ideally positioned to answer the fundamental question that needs to be answered to get a hold on America’s targeted killing program:

What role do targeted killings play in the broader U.S. counter-terrorism strategy and under what circumstances might we cease to employ them?



Emptywheel


Marcy Wheeler has reported on John Brennan more than any other journalist that I know.  Here are her questions.  She has very good and well documented reasons for asking these questions which can be found in her many posts on the subject.   You can visit her site to read the detail attached to each question but I will just excerpt the questions themselves here.

Five Questions for John Brennan

I’m sure I could grill John Brennan for hours. But after a lot of thought, here are the five questions I believe most important that should be asked of him Today.

1) Do you plan to continue lying to Americans?
[...]
2) What was the intelligence supporting the first attempt to kill Anwar al-Awlaki?
[...]
3) Will your close friendships with Saudis cloud your focus on the US interest?
[...]
4) What role did you have in Bush’s illegal wiretap program?
[...]
5) Did you help CIA bypass prohibitions on spying domestically with the NYPD intelligence (and other) programs?



The New York Review of Books


I've excerpted some of the thirteen questions posed by David Cole of the New York Review of Books.  The questions are very detailed with cites to specifics and it's well worth reading all of them.

13 Questions for John O. Brennan

6. It has been reported that, in addition to “personality strikes” against particular known individuals, the administration also uses more expansive “signature strikes” to kill unidentified individuals who show patterns of behavior characteristic of a particular militant or terrorist group. In what situations, beyond a traditional battlefield, is it appropriate to use such strikes? What constitutes a sufficient “signature” to warrant a strike?

7. In June 2011, you claimed that there had not been a single civilian death from US drone strikes in the past year. Yet the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported in the same year that there had been forty-five civilians killed by drones in the past year, including six children. Do you stand by your claim? If the drone program is classified and that bars the US from disputing claims about civilian deaths, as some have said, why were you able to say in 2011 that there were no civilian casualties?

8. The New York Times reported in May 2012 that in assessing civilian casualties, the administration “in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants…unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” That would be directly at odds with the rule of precaution in the law of war, which requires that individuals be presumed civilians where there is any doubt. Can you assure us that the US is complying with the precautionary principle?

9. Were you involved in the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program? When were you made aware of the program? If you believe, as you have said, that waterboarding is torture, what steps did you take to stop the CIA from engaging in such tactics?



The Plum Line at the Washington Post


Greg Sargent focuses on the legal justification for targeted killings.  His questions are primarily based on the white paper leaked by Isikoff.  I note again that both journalists and senators have not had much time to study the white paper and I wonder if it had been released earlier by the Obama administration, would there have been a lot more debate about these programs in the media and the blogosphere?  If the legal memos finally released last night by the Obama administration were given to the intelligence committees were released earlier, as persistently requested by Ron Wyden, would these senators have been better prepared to question Brennan and would they have scheduled a more lengthy and detailed hearing?  I continue to believe that there should be an unclassified version of these documents released to the media and the public and that our Congress should prepare to hold very public and lengthy Watergate-like hearings on this subject.  There needs to be a very public debate on this.

Questions for John Brennan about the targeted killing white paper

With the help of attorney Chris Anders of the ACLU, as well as two letters from Senator Ron Wyden, and blogging by Glenn Greenwald, Emptywheel, Adam Serwer, James Downie, and others, here are a few questions I hope he is asked:
[...]
3) In addition to this OLC memo, are there other legal memos further developing the administration’s views as to why these killings are legal? What is the justification for shielding them from Congressional oversight?

4) The white paper claims that these killings are legal if “an informed, high level official” has “determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.” Please define “high level official,” and please tell us which members of the administration specifically are seen to have this decision-making authority.

[Emphasis added.]



Medea Benjamin at Counterpunch


Regardless of what you may think about Medea Benjamin or Code Pink or their tactics, Benjamin has a unique standing to ask questions of Brennan today.  First, she's been to Pakistan and has met and spoken personally to drone victims and/or families and neighbors of drone victims.  She spent time with people who live under drone surveillance day in and day out.  She has also been one of the lone voices protesting Brennan for some time now and has taken legal risks in order to do so.  Lastly, she has met John Brennan at his home.  Just a few months ago, he was still lying about deaths of innocent civilians.  He said that we don't kill civilians and that she was being misled.  

So even after the public speech during which Brennan told the world that the drone program only involved well reviewed and specific targets who were an imminent threat to the United States and that the drones were surgical weapons and that the U.S. had not killed a single innocent civilian, and then he was called on that and had to backpedal, clearly, according to Benjamin, he continues to lie about it almost to this day, or at least he did on the day that she spoke to him.

In this article, first Benjamin asks why senators have waited so long to express their concern with drone assassinations and then she lays out ten questions that Code Pink would ask Brennan if they had the opportunity.  I'll excerpt a few of them.

10 Questions for John Brennan’s Confirmation Hearing
Why the Drone Czar Shouldn't Head the CIA

But why have the Senators, especially those on the Intelligence Committee who are supposed to exercise oversight of the CIA, waited until now to make public statements about their unease with the killing of Americans that took place back in September and October of 2011? For over a year human rights groups and activists have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get an answer as to why our government killed the 17-year-old American boy Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and have had no help from the Senators’ offices.

1.     You have claimed that due to the precision of drone strikes, there have been only a handful of civilian casualties. How many civilians deaths have you recorded, and in what countries? What proportion of total casualties do those figures represent? How do you regard the sources such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that estimates drone casualties in Pakistan alone range from 2,629-3,461,with as many as 891 reported to be civilians and 176 reported to be children?  Have you reviewed the photographic evidence of death and injury presented by residents of the drone strike areas? If so, what is your response?
[...]
8.   The majority of prisoners incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay were found to be innocent and were released. These individuals landed in Guantanamo as victims of mistaken identity or as a result of bounties for their capture. How likely is it that the intelligence that gets a person killed by a drone strike may be as faulty as that which put innocent individuals in Guantanamo?

9.  You have stated that there is little evidence drone strikes are causing widespread anti-American sentiment or recruits for extremist groups.  Do you stand by this statement now, as we have seen an expansion of Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, possibly triple the number that existed when the drone strikes began?  Do you have concerns about the “blowback” caused by what General McChrystal has called a “visceral hatred” of U.S. drones?



Esquire


Tom Junod of Esquire focuses mostly on the people killed and injured by our drone program who were not American citizens.  Most of the recent attention has been given to the president's (and as we now know, high-level officials') assumption of power to kill American citizens, but what about the thousands of non Americans who have been targeted?  Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been investigating covert drone wars and tracking drone strikes and victims since 2010.  They have now opened a new investigation which will attempt to add to their record by identifying the victims in addition to statistically collecting accounts of the strikes.   Junod also asks about Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the teenaged son of Anwar al-Awlaki, whose killing remains largely a mystery, despite many, many questions directed at the president asking for information.

QUESTIONS JOHN BRENNAN SHOULD FACE TODAY

In his response to the DOJ white paper, the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer commented that it’s written in “the language of limits -- but without any real restrictions.” That is the norm for the Lethal Presidency, which deploys terms like “precision” and “discrimination” only in the interest of expansion. Not so long ago, we were assured by an American Administration that those it dispatched to Guantanamo Bay represented “the worst of the worst” -- and so we were surprised when most of those it captured it later released, after finding they committed no crimes. Well, we don’t capture anymore, and “kill or capture” has been rendered the latest political euphemism. We kill. According to a former member of the Administration I consulted before writing “The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama,” we kill those we would have never have bothered to capture. We don’t let anybody go.

Do we also kill American citizens? Yes, we do -- and there is no doubt that John Brennan will be asked about the deliberations that ended in the death of Anwar al-Awlaki. But it would be better to ask him if there were any deliberations that led to the death of al-Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman. It would be better to ask him him if there was a white paper, or a classified memo. It would be better to ask him if he even knows why Abdulrahman was killed, or the importance of the operation that necessitated his death. For although Abdulrahman was an American citizen, his killing was much more typical of the killings meted out by the Lethal Presidency than the killing of his father. Abdulrahman, after all, wasn’t on any kill list that we know of. He wasn’t an Al Qaeda leader. He wasn’t even a militant. He was a kid, eating with other kids. John Brennan should be asked about him, because Abdulrahman is representative not just of the three American citizens but also the too many killed by the Lethal Presidency. He had no idea why he was killed. And neither do we.



The Nation


Robert Dreyfuss at The Nation talks about some people who would have questions for Brennan and his drone program if only they were able to ask them.  In these numbers, he includes the long denied cruise missile attack at the village of al Majala where "49 civilians, among them 23 children and 17 women" were killed.  

Questions for John Brennan That Won't Get Asked

One of the questioners is Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, a father of seven children and a Yemeni cleric who apparently opposed Al Qaeda and its allies in Yemen. While he was arguing, alongside his cousin, with several Al Qaeda members who were angry with him, he was blown to pieces in a drone strike carried out by the United States. Oh, wait, he can’t ask Brennan anything. He’s dead. Oops.

Another question for Brennan comes from Saleem Hussein Jamal. Jamal happened to give a lift to some people who’d offered to pay him for a ride. During the trip, because the five riders were apparently Al Qaeda members, the car was blown to smithereens, and rescuers couldn’t identify anyone except by scraps. “We found eyes, but there were no faces left,” said one. Oh, Jamal can’t ask Brennan his question. He’s dead, too. Oops.

Dozens of questions come from Yemenis who experienced a US military drone strike in December 2009, the first in Yemen during the Obama administration. Unfortunately, because dozens of civilians died in that strike, which carried cluster munitions, they’re not going to able to ask Brennan anything, either. They’re all dead, too. Oops.



My Question and why I believe Brennan is less confirmable now than in 2009


Getting back to my big obvious question, one for which I have not seen any answer that I find to be satisfying:

What has changed since 2008-9 when John Brennan was considered to be too toxic to be confirmed as Director of the CIA?  What is so different now that he is expected to be easily confirmed and that only a few hours are needed to question him?

As promised, I'll explain why I think Brennan is even less suited for the job of heading the CIA than he was in 2009.   Many strong reasons are obvious just from the questions from journalists cited above and the fact that some of them even have to be asked.  Really, it would take a lot more than one post to explain all of my doubts and reasons for opposing the Brennan nomination.  While writing this, I realized that I could have gone on at much further length.  In general, I'm not a fan of very long blog posts, so in  the interest of keeping this post to a reasonable length, I'll try to summarize my main objections.

  • Questionable honesty  In an organization which operates almost entirely in secrecy, the honesty of the director is of utmost importance.  Sen. Wyden's recent letter to John Brennan says that the torture report reveals that "the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information about its interrogation program to the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress".  A director who a history of integrity and honesty is critical to avoid that happening again.  John Brennan himself has a history of serial lying.  Some examples of that are well known, such as his claim that no civilians have ever been killed by American drone strikes, which was an obvious lie that he had to walk back.  The other well known lie is related to his erratic reports about the bin Laden kill.  Brennan has also been less than honest to the public about signature strikes.
  • Torture John Brennan was in a high level CIA position during the height of the Bush-Cheney "enhanced interrogation" and rendition programs.  He now claims that he opposed waterboarding and believes it to be torture but it is also known that he would have been involved in meetings and briefings on the torture program and officials who were in a position to know have told journalists that they do not remember him ever objecting to the program at the time.  I would need more evidence to believe his claims that he opposed torture at that time.
  • Assassinations  Based on what I have read, I believe that Brennan is the "Assassination Czar" as he has been nicknamed and is responsible for the deaths of both combatants and many innocent women and children based on what I believe to be dubious legality and constitutionality.
  • Influence on Drone Policy  Based on what I have read, I believe that Brennan has had more influence over the president than any other person with regard to the drone policy and the NDAA policy of assassinating American citizens and I think he has given him bad advice, in the extreme and should not be in any advisory position.
  • NYPD CIA  I strongly disagree with the NYPD branch of the CIA and the use of the CIA on American soil in any way.  Brennan defended the CIA on the Hudson and it is suspected that he was instrumental in creating it.

A few hours isn't nearly enough time to explore this big question or the other enormously important specific questions that are so important for which the American people deserve to have answers.

The reason that we have these confirmation hearings is because some of the most powerful jobs in the United States require an enormous amount of public trust.  As David Cole said:

"That responsibility is nowhere more grave than in the case of the CIA. Because so much of what the agency does is necessarily hidden from public view, it is all the more essential that its director be rigorously vetted."

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:42 AM PST.

Also republished by Team DFH, The Amateur Left, Group W: Resisting War, Inherent Human Rights, Frustrati, Citizen Lobbyist USA, and Progressive Policy Zone.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  First rate Diary (12+ / 0-)

    Tx for such an insightful diary joanne. Can we dare hope that any Senators ask him any relevant questions? At this moment I'm listening to Sen. Warner's introduction of Brennan- I don't feel hopeful.

    •  I think we might get some decent questions (8+ / 0-)

      but there is nowhere near enough time to cover the critical topics properly.

      And the predictions are that he will be confirmed easily with a large majority of the 100 votes from the full Senate.  I'm sure he'll have enough votes to get out of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence too, or Feinstein would not have scheduled the hearing.

      It's really pretty horrific.  The Senate is useless.  Worse, they are damaging.


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:40:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wyden is speaking now (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, aliasalias, praenomen, KBO

      and at least we know we'll get some real and tough questions from him.  

      He did finally get the legal memos he has been trying to get for two years.  Nice of the Obama admin. to release the memos just hours before the hearing, huh?  None of those senators have had a chance to review those justifications in any kind of depth.  If they were going to release them, why didn't they release them earlier?  


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:48:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  here the transcript of what Wyden said and asked (5+ / 0-)
        WYDEN: Thank you, Madam Chair. And Mr. Brennan, thank you for our discussions and for the joint meeting that you had with several of us on the Committee last week.

        As we discussed then, I believe the issues before us really have nothing to do with political party and have everything to do with the checks and balances that make our system of government so special.

        Taking the fight to Al Qaeda is something every member of this committee feels strongly about. It's the idea of giving any president unfettered power to kill an American without checks and balances that's so troubling.

        Every American has the right to know when their government believes it's allowed to kill them. And ensuring that the Congress has the documents and information it needs to conduct robust oversight is central to our democracy.

        In fact, the Committee was actually created, in large part, in response to lax oversight of programs that involved targeted killings.

        So it was encouraging last night when the president called and indicated that, effective immediately, he would release the documents necessary for Senators to understand the full legal analysis of the president's authority to conduct the targeted killing of an American.

        What the president said is a good first step towards ensuring the openness and accountability that's important, and you heard that reaffirmed in the Chair's strong words right now.

        Since last night, however, I have become concerned that the Department of Justice is not following through with the president's commitment just yet. Eleven United States Senators asked to see any and all legal opinions, but when I went to read the opinions this morning, it is not clear that that is what was provided.

        And moreover, on this point, with respect to lawyers, I think what the concern is is there's a double standard. As the national security advisor, you volunteered to your credit you weren't a lawyer, you asked your lawyers and your experts to help you.

        And we're trying to figure out how to wade through all these documents. And one of the reasons why I'm concerned that it's not yet clear that what the president committed to do has actually been provided.

        And finally, on this point, the Committee's been just stonewalled on several other requests, particularly with respect to secret law (ph).

        And I'm going to leave this point simply by saying I hope you'll go back to the White House and convey to them the message that the Justice Department is not yet following through on the president's commitment.

        Will you convey that message?

        BRENNAN: Yes, I will, Senator.

        WYDEN: Very good.

        Let me now move to the public side of oversight, making sure that the public's right to know is respected. One part of oversight is Congressional oversight and our doing our work. The other is making sure that the American people are brought into these debates, just like James Madison said, this is what you need to preserve a republic.

        And I want to start with the drone issue. In a speech last year, the president instructed you to be more open with the public about the use of drones to conduct targeted killings of Al Qaeda members.

        So my question is, what should be done next to ensure that public conversation about drones, so that the American people are brought into this debate and have a full understanding of what rules the government's going to observe when it conducts targeted killings?

        BRENNAN: Well, I think this hearing is one of the things that can be done because I think this type of discourse between the executive and the legislative branch is critically important.

        I believe that there need to be continued speeches that are going to be given by the executive branch to explain our counterterrorism programs. I think there is a misimpression on the part of some of American people who believe that we take strikes to punish terrorists for past transgressions. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there's no other alternative to taking an action that's going to mitigate that threat.

        So we will need to make sure that there is an understanding, and the people that were standing up here today, I think they really have a misunderstanding of what we do as a government and the care that we take and the agony that we go through to make sure that we do not have any collateral injuries or deaths.

        And as the Chairman said earlier, the need to be able to go out and say that publicly and openly I think is critically important because people are reacting to a lot of falsehoods that are out there. And I do see it as part of my obligation and I think it's the obligation of this Committee to make sure the truth is known to the American public and to the world.

        ...more to come
        •  the remainder of Wyden's qestions and answers (5+ / 0-)
          WYDEN: Mr. Brennan, I'm also convinced there are parts of drone policy that can be declassified consistent with national security. And I hope that you will work with me on that if you're confirmed.

          Let me ask you several other questions with respect to the president's authority to kill Americans. I've asked you how much evidence the president needs to decide that a particular American can be lawfully killed -- killed and whether the administration believes that the president can use this authority inside the United States .

          In my judgment, both the Congress and the public need to understand the answers to these kind of fundamental questions. What do you think needs to be done to ensure that members of the public understand more about when the government thinks it's allowed to kill them, particularly with respect to those two issues: the question of evidence and the authority to use this power within the United States?

          BRENNAN: I have been a strong proponent of trying to be as open as possible with these programs as far as our explaining what we're doing.

          What we need to do is optimize transparency on these issues, but at the same time optimize secrecy and the protection of our national security. I don't think that it's one or the other. It's trying to optimize both of them.

          And so what we need to do is make sure we explain to the American people what the thresholds for action, what are the procedures, the practices, the processes, the approvals, the reviews.

          The Office of Legal Counsel Advice (ph) establishes the legal boundaries within which we can operate. It doesn't mean that we operate at those outer boundaries. And, in fact, I think the American people would be quite pleased to know that we've been very disciplined and very judicious, and we only use these authorities and these capabilities as a last resort.

          WYDEN: One other point with respect to (inaudible) public oversight. If the executive branch makes a mistake and kills the wrong person or a group of the wrong people, how should the government acknowledge that?

          BRENNAN: I believe we need to acknowledge that. I need -- we need to it knowledge it to our foreign partners. We need to acknowledge it publicly. There are certain circumstances where there are considerations to be taken into account, but as far as I'm concerned, if this type of action that takes place, in the interest of transparency, I believe the United States government should acknowledge it.

          WYDEN: And acknowledge it publicly?

          BRENNAN: That is -- that would be ideal and that would be the objective of the program.

          WYDEN: One last question if I might. In my letter to you three weeks ago, I noted that I've been asking for over a year to receive the names of any and all countries where intelligence community has used its lethal authorities.

          If confirmed, would you provide the full list of countries to the members of this committee and our (inaudible) staff?

          BRENNAN: I know that this is an outstanding request on your part. During our courtesy call we discussed it. If I were to be confirmed as director of CIA, I would get back to you, and it would be my intention to do everything possible to meet this committee's legitimate interests and requests.

          WYDEN: Well, I'm gonna wrap up just one sentence on this point, Chair Feinstein.

          It's a matter of public record, Mr. Brennan, that the raid that killed Osama bin Laden was carried out under the authority of CIA Director Leon Panetta. So that tells you right there that the intelligence community's lethal authorities have been used in at least one country.

          I want to hear you say that if these authorities have been used in any other countries you'll provide this committee with the full list. Now, will you give us that assurance?

          BRENNAN: You're talking about a historical list, are you not, Senator Wyden? As far as anytime, anywhere that the CIA was involved in such a lethal (inaudible)

          WYDEN: Yes.

          BRENNAN: I would have to go back and take a look at that request. Certainly, anything that -- if I were to go to CIA and the CIA was involved in any type of lethal activity, I would damn well make sure that this committee had that information. Absolutely.

          WYDEN: That's a good start.

          BRENNAN: Thank you...

  •  watching on c span now (9+ / 0-)

    and also emptywheel & others on twitter

    thanks for this excellent write up, joanne!

    If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

    by Lady Libertine on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:47:26 AM PST

  •  Just heard Mark Warner - Sen VA - Democrat (10+ / 0-)

    Gave total support for the surveillance state and the intelligence professionals. Many probably live in his district.

    Don't expect any tough questions for him.

    Hearing people speaking up and being evicted from the hearing.-

  •  Nobody in Congress cares about reasons. (6+ / 0-)

    What matters is this: is some Important Person's career dependent upon the confirmation or disconfirmation of John Brennan as Director of the CIA?

    "There's nothing heroic about earning profit." -Odo, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

    by Cassiodorus on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:50:42 AM PST

  •  Protesters (10+ / 0-)

    have interrupted a few times.  DiFi (chair of SSCI) said that she is now clearing the entire chamber and that Code Pink not be allowed back in.  She gets a smattering of clapping, but not much, which surprises me.  

    I have mixed feelings about Code Pink but I'm glad someone is there protesting.  I wish that Code Pink would train their members to make their protests more effective.  You can hear each protester yelling, but whatever they are saying is not easy to hear or determine.  They should have strong slogans to yell out so that the risk they take of arrest is at least worth it in terms of getting their message across.

    They are now going to try to get Code Pink members out of the room.  Hopefully there are other protesters there who will be able to stay and get some kind of message across later at various times.

    They do have some signs.  I just saw one that said "Stop CIA murder".  They'd be better off saying things like that rather than blathering.  MSNBC commentators are trying to figure out what they were saying. If they had short slogans, MSNBC would have amplified it for them.  Ugh.  This is one of my big problems with Code Pink.

    Well, there will be news that the hearing was protested anyway, so there's that.  Hearing is now starting again and Brennan is talking about his father and mother.  


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:56:55 AM PST

  •  apparently codepink has been kicked out... (9+ / 0-)

    apparently their questions will not get an answer.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:57:34 AM PST

    •  I wonder (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, AoT, KBO

      how legal it is to remove all protesters, or anyone who looks like a protester.  

      I saw that happen first hand near Wall Street.  NYPD would stop people who they thought were protesters and let everyone else walk right down the street (on the sidewalk).   I think that's profiling, no?  Of course Code Pink make themselves pretty obvious.  If I had been there to protest and my job was to speak out at some point in the hearing, I would have worn business attire.   If my job was to simply be visible and get on TV, I'd just make sure I had a good sign, in which case I guess I'd be thrown out.  Maybe that was their main goal, to get themselves and their signs on TV.  If that was the case, they were fairly effective.  It's already in the news articles that there were protests there.


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:46:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Petraeus (7+ / 0-)

    Brennan just did a shout out for David Petraeus.  

    Heh, when Petraeus was taken down, I told KBO that whoever becomes the next director of the CIA should be suspect #1 for having arranged it.  I still wonder if Brennan got that ball rolling.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:58:01 AM PST

  •  First rate, Joanneleon. n/t (11+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:03:00 PM PST

    •  I agree with that and it's why I posted it on FB (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, joanneleon, KBO

      to get it more eyes and I wish I done it sooner as it contains excerpts from several I've already posted, but her addition is a big plus.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:20:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, MB (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, aliasalias, KBO

      Glad that you published a front page piece on the questions, particularly Marcy's.  

      I just really would like someone to ask what has changed (in a positive direction) between 2009 and now.  From everything I know, he's only become a worse candidate.  Now he has killed American citizens.  

      If NDAA is the issue, it doesn't justify the assassinations that were done before it was passed.  


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:49:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (9+ / 0-)
    emptywheel emptywheel ‏@emptywheel

    Shorter Brennan: I'm going to get you to trust me after making obviously false claims about civilian casualties.

    If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

    by Lady Libertine on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:08:25 PM PST

  •  When you look at that photo of him, he does (9+ / 0-)

    not look trustworthy at all.

  •  Thanks joanne for the diary (8+ / 0-)

    as to the question

    "WHOM CAN THE PRESIDENT KILL?"

    Anyone he damn well pleases, it seems.

    How I will hate to see Brennan confirmed.

    It confirms all the worst feelings I have about the direction this country is going and has gone under Obama.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:28:05 PM PST

    •  also, according to Brennan, the WHOLE WORLD (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, joe shikspack, joanneleon, KBO, allenjo

      is the battlefield. So when CIA grabs a suspect they can that put that suspect away for 99 years because they have been taken from the battlefield. Since the US is in so many countries, that seems to encompass the whole world.

      I'm choking on the Imperialism coming from Brennan.

      To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:48:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  allenjo, it's a question (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, KBO, allenjo

      that still has not been answered for the American people.

      We are now at risk of being targeted by our own government, and they will not tell us specifically what they mean by giving support to terrorist organizations or worse, the vague "associated forces".  

      Really, I don't understand why more people are not screaming about this. Most Americans have no idea what is going on and would never believe that it could happen here or that their own president could target them for example, for supporting Julian Assange.  

      Chris Hedges' organization sought assurance that Obama could not go after them as journalists and this administration would not give that assurance.  


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:55:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, OPOL (3+ / 0-)

      It won't make a damn bit of difference.  He's as good as confirmed, from what I am hearing.  

      Maybe there is a chance that this thing could blow up a bit now that the white paper is being scrutinized and now that the legal memos for drone targeting have been released to the committee.  They can't reveal anything from the memos to the public though, I assume.  Still classified.  Outrageous.

      But maybe now the white paper will generate more protest from the media. I don't know.

      I just heard DiFi say that the last round of questions will be done now, 5 minutes each, and that there will be another closed hearing on Tuesday.  I guess that's it.  We'll see what the media response is to the hearing in the next few days.  It would be great if the Democratic and progressive blogs and journalists would kick up a fuss.  But since he is Obama's choice, I think most of them will not, as is the norm.  As long as it's our guy in the White House, anything goes.  Literally, anything goes for most of the Left.


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:59:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent work (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for putting this together.

  •  Brennan: (8+ / 0-)

    "We only take actions to save lives... mitigate that threat"

    We know this is a blatant lie.

    He says that "people are reacting to a lot of falsehoods out there" and says that a lot of Americans have the wrong idea about the drone program.   Well I wonder how that freaking happened?  They kept saying it was a secret program and they rarely report on who they killed.  

    Brennan: "We need to optimize transparency and at the same time optimize secrecy"

    "We've been very disciplined and very judicious".  He says that they only kill when they absolutely have to.

    I wonder how they can explain that strike on an entire town meeting, a jirga, in Pakistan.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:52:34 PM PST

    •  i'm pretty sure that he will lie through his teeth (6+ / 0-)

      continuously about the drone program.  the senate is not going to try him for it.  it's really a matter for international bodies to take up at this point.  the drone program as it exists appears to be in violation of international law and the laws of war.  apparently the white house feels that international law is as malleable as american law (or at least american judges interpretations of law).  i suspect that redefining words (like imminent) is not going to work, should an international court take up the issue.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:01:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Juan Cole's Top 5 Objections to White House's (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allenjo, mimi, joe shikspack, joanneleon

        Drone Killing Memo".
        You comment made me think of THIS part of his list (all emphasis mine).

        http://www.juancole.com/...

        2. To any extent that the President’s powers under the memo are alleged to derive from the 2001 Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force, i.e. from the legislature, they are a form of  bill of attainder (the History Learning Site explains what that is here):

         “A bill, act or writ of attainder was a piece of legislation that declared a person or persons guilty of a crime. A bill of attainder allowed for the guilty party to be punished without a trial. A bill of attainder was part of English common law. Whereas Habeus Corpus guaranteed a fair trial by jury, a bill of attainder bypassed this. The word “attainder” meant tainted. A bill of attainder was mostly used for treason . . . and such a move suspended a person’s civil rights and guaranteed that the person would be found guilty of the crimes stated in the bill as long as the Royal Assent was gained. For serious crimes such as treason, the result was invariably execution.”

        What, you might ask, is wrong with that? Only that it is unconstitutional.  Tech Law Journal explains:

        “The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed.” . . .

        “These clauses of the Constitution are not of the broad, general nature of the Due Process Clause, but refer to rather precise legal terms which had a meaning under English law at the time the Constitution was adopted. A bill of attainder was a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them, without benefit of trial. Such actions were regarded as odious by the framers of the Constitution because it was the traditional role of a court, judging an individual case, to impose punishment.” William H. Rehnquist, The Supreme Court, page 166.

        The form of the AUMF, in singling out all members of al-Qaeda wherever they are and regardless of nationality or of actual criminal action, as objects of legitimate lethal force, is that of a bill of attainder. Congress cannot declare war on small organizations– war is declared on states. Such a bill of attainder is inherently unconstitutional.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:30:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I want to study (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack

        the laws of war and international law in more detail. I know some of the basics, but I want to know more specifics.  I hate reading law text so I'd prefer to find some good sources that boil it down.


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:06:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  here's a place to start... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon

          in the living under drones report there is a legal analysis section which discusses in pretty great detail how the various domestic, international and laws of war apply to the us drone program in pakistan.  it also seems to me to be a pretty good introduction to some of the rules of law as it gives you an idea of what they might look like to someone who is applying them.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:32:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Certain "public servants" like Cheney and Brennan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, aliasalias, joanneleon

      make me cringe, and Brennan no less than Cheney did.

      What in the hell has happened to this country?

      Perhaps Brennan's confirmation will be held up due to financial problems like Hagel's?????

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

      by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:09:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've heard that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, allenjo

        he is expected to be confirmed with at least 85 votes. I hope that changes due to the release of the white paper or some responses from this hearing or the closed hearing on Tuesday.  Maybe the media is sitting on something like they were sitting on the white paper?


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:09:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ron Wyden of Oregon threatened to filibuster (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon, joe shikspack

          The Hill reported

          President Obama’s nominee for CIA director will be bombarded with questions Thursday in a Senate hearing that could bring new revelations about the targeted killings of U.S. citizens overseas. Opposition to the nomination of John Brennan, now Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, surfaced quickly among Republicans after the White House tapped him to replace David Petraeus as CIA director.

          But Monday's leak of a confidential Department of Justice (DOJ) paper justifying the use of armed drone strikes against suspected terrorists — even if those suspects are U.S. citizens — has lit a fire under liberals as well.

          and
          One liberal senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, has even threatened to defy Obama and filibuster Brennan’s nomination over the drone program.
          Burr just made a joke about waterboarding. Disgusting.

          Well, I guess this hearing closes the public's portion and now it will go to closed hearing on Tuesday.

          And Hagel is still waiting with no date in sight.....

          “The committee’s vote on Senator Hagel’s nomination has not been scheduled,” Levin said in a statement. “I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete. I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible.”

          "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

          by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:43:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bombarded with tough questions? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            allenjo, joe shikspack

            I don't know what hearing they were expecting but it did not come about.  This was mostly a softball hearing, don't you think?


            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:50:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, 4 years of a Democratic president can (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack, joanneleon, Melf

              certainly change the climate and public opinion to accept what was previously deemed unacceptable.

              It was pretty much a lovefest. If there were harsh exchanges, I certainly missed them.

              Love is all around Brennan, it seems. Which should be very pleasing to the president.

              "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

              by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:07:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I wonder how that freaking happened? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, AoT, joanneleon
      a lot of Americans have the wrong idea about the drone program.   Well I wonder how that freaking happened?

      Yeah, with the most open transparent administration in the history of this country, how did that freaking happen?

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

      by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:41:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  drones, the public doesn't understand the agony... (4+ / 0-)
    Brennan says.

    He says there's a misperception that drone strikes are punitive. Nothing could be further from the truth, he says: "such actions as a last resort to save lives, when there's no other alternative."

    He says the public doesn't understand "the agony that we go through to make sure that we do not have any collateral injuries or deaths."

    "I think the American people will be quite pleased to know we've been quite judicious [in picking drone strikes] and we've only used these as a last resort," he says.

    Well, as one American, I am not pleased.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:04:38 PM PST

  •  I hope many Canadians are watching/reading (4+ / 0-)

    we are on the list and any Canadian can be identified by the CIA as a suspect.

    Thanks Joanne, will share on my family Facebook page.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:11:20 PM PST

  •  carl levin asks if waterboarding is torture... (6+ / 0-)

    brennan evades the question.

    telling.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:12:53 PM PST

  •  is waterboarding torture? (6+ / 0-)

    B. says it should be banned but he doesn't say it's torture. Says it is reprehensible and should not be done. He cannot say the word "torture."

    Lots of words, but cannot say it's torture.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:13:43 PM PST

  •  can't call waterboarding torture as not a lawyer? (4+ / 0-)

    Honesty, truthfulness ingrained in Brennan, he says.

    Like anyone could rise up in the CIA being honest and truthful.

    He can't call waterboarding torture as he is not a lawyer!!!

    AAAARRRGGHHH!

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:13:55 PM PST

  •  CIA Directors never tell us anything; (5+ / 0-)
    over at the Guardian, Greenwald just posted....

    And this captures well the rich store of good faith in the room:

        Q: Mr. Brennan, CIA Directors never tell us anything;

    do you promise to tell us stuff if we vote to confirm you?

    A. Totally!!

        — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 7, 2013

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:30:19 PM PST

  •  CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, joanneleon, OLinda

    the Guardian live blog

    Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, is up.

    Earlier this week Udall released a statement saying he was "deeply disappointed" that Brennan "was unprepared to discuss the Intelligence Committee's recent report on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program" in a private meeting.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:33:51 PM PST

    •  He says (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allenjo, joe shikspack

      that he has not finished reading it.  But when he wants to refer to it, he does, saying he has read some of it.

      Convenient.

      Torture is the issue that caused him to lose the nomination in 2009.  You'd think he'd be over prepared.  But clearly this guy isn't worried about much.  Heck, he didn't even have to do a full day public hearing.


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:26:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  secret sites is now where interrogations (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, joe shikspack, aliasalias, joanneleon

    Oh crap, secret sites is now where interrogations are taking place.

    So does torture still continue?

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:43:02 PM PST

    •  how would one know if torture continues? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, allenjo, joanneleon

      clearly the administration's statements can be very carefully parsed to mean that the united states is not performing the torture.  naturally, that wouldn't necessarily preclude others doing it on our behalf.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:56:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  On a ship (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allenjo, joe shikspack

      They detain people on ships out in international waters or in other countries, they outsource detainees to other countries, as far as I know.

      Nobody has an answer to the question of whether we still torture.  I believe that the "enhanced interrogation" techniques are still used with the exception of waterboarding and some other techniques.

      I assume that we still do torture.   That has always been my assumption.  I don't believe a word of what the this administration says, what the CIA says, what any intelligence agency says and probably would not believe most higher level military now either, given that people like Gen. Allen have been telling the country how well things are going in Afghanistan for years now, and clearly it isn't, which a recent report finally admitted.


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:30:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  foreign partners interrogating, who are they? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, joe shikspack, aliasalias, joanneleon

    and  interrogating on naval vessels is a good thing?

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:45:05 PM PST

  •  What's changed is the Democratic party has (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo, joe shikspack, joanneleon, Melf

    continued it's rightward march lead by it's CINC, making question four years ago quaint and irrelevant.  Think about what's happened under Obama's watch the last four years.  The melding of the two party oligarchy continues, the GWOT continues, the global imperialism continues, the police state expands, and torture continues.   Now it's all blatant in your face imperialist hubris with a Nobel Peace Prize to back it up.  Question:  Why are we still waging the War OF Terror and the Afghanistan war, and bigger question, why is the democratic party so approving of of these wars?

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:11:57 PM PST

  •  most detailed explanations of the drone policy (4+ / 0-)

    White House: Daily Show 'more substantive' than other media outlets

    White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday defended President Obama for having given some of his most detailed explanations of the American drone program on "The Daily Show" — a late-night comedy show — calling his interview with Jon Stewart "more substantive" than others during the campaign.

    And the Daily Show has questions about those drones....

    last night's show

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:12:53 PM PST

  •  pretty much a love fest going on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, joe shikspack

    Hagel has such a contentious hearing and he is now on hold.

    The love and praise is flowing in the room on this one.

    Brennan who could not even be put up for nomination even 4 years ago and now everyone on the committee pretty much- singing his praises?

    So how long will it take for Brennan's confirmation to come and what will happen to Hagel's?

    Who knows if Brennan's finances are in order, but it doesn't seem like the committee is going to care, does it?

    It is all such a farce.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:20:09 PM PST

  •  Feinstein back again, AAARRRGGGHHH! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, joe shikspack

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:21:16 PM PST

  •  Sen Angus King questions the drone policy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, allenjo, joe shikspack

    too much power for the Executive.

    Brennan:
    worthy of discussion. Decisions on the battlefield and decisions against terrorists. Prevention to protect American lives.

    Depressing, "if the American citizen is a bad guy." it's ok to kill him.

    Brennan will be confirmed.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:21:58 PM PST

  •  a bad American citizen has no rights per Feinstein (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, joe shikspack

    She is determined to get her stance on record.

    Less we think this drone program that can" legally" kill Americans is bad policy!!!!!

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:23:57 PM PST

  •  I just noticed I'm "talking" to myself and (5+ / 0-)

    everyone else is gone. ;)

    Oh well, continuing on alone.

    How did Rubio get on this committee? All his foreign policy experience, I guess.

    Brennan now has a no recollection moment. The ole "I don't recall."

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:27:30 PM PST

  •  Jay Rockefeller (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo, joe shikspack

    is praising Brennan, saying that in all his years in the Senate, he doesn't remember another nominee (for CIA?) who has been more forthright and wonderful than him.  Amazing.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:31:45 PM PST

  •  Yeah that was a really bad joke (4+ / 0-)

    by Sen. Burr.  Tells Brennan that he noticed he was on his fourth glass of water and he doesn't want to be accused of waterboarding him.  Chuckle chuckle.

    This hearing is largely a joke.  Waterboarding is not a joke though.  


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:35:20 PM PST

  •  "I have no idea what you are talking about" (3+ / 0-)

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    not one of her finer moments......

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:00:26 PM PST

  •  Thank you joannelson (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon

    your a better advocate for sanity and really address the heart of the matter beyond the politics we are trapped in, then I can ever be. I find it really hard all these years later to still base our foriegn policy and our security as a country on a attack by a bunch of Saudis and Egyptian fanatical lunatics as reason to declare endless global war on anyone the security state which ensued from 9/11. We have paid dearly for 9/11 we now live in a police security state in the 'homeland' and we are the purveyors of a global reign of terror that is so Orwellian that it's hard to comprehend.

    The fact that Obama has put up this war criminal Bushie torturer blows my mind. The fact that people here defend this is so surreal that I cannot comprehend how to even address those that find this further slide into the historic annals of would be threats to the world's slow progress towards humanism and the rule of universal laws that it makes me weep. Geopolitics that surely will go down in history as one of the most horrendous cannot be defended regardless of which useless party implements this lawless offense against hard won human rights and makes my country above the laws that binds humanity and it's progress.          

  •  Thank You (4+ / 0-)

    You will see I have only ever commented here on Daily Kos twice before now, yet I've been watching Daily Kos for years.  What I have attributed to this forum over the past few years as a deafening silence, only of late moving into acknowledgement of this topic, is erased here with this Diary. Thank you for that.

    I have watched over the years as a a common perspective is parroted repeatedly in the various discussions related to drones, the morality etc. that presumes "war" is what we are engaged in. You can't be at war with a group.  War has a legal definition which precludes being at war with an idea or single group. War can only be declared by Congress on some other Nation state.

    Let's be clear - the United States is not at war with Al-Qaeda.

    That others more articulate and "argument-savvy" than I (particularly from the left side of the aisle) are not broadcasting a message from the mountaintops on this issue at this time, particularly at the potential of Brennan's confirmation baffles me, even has at times left me demoralized at the potential for America and our democracy.

    I don't have to be a Democrat OR a Republican to color where I stand on this.  I only have to be human.

    I see that people are being assassinated in countries with which we are not at war - and that what is being done in the name of American citizens like myself, without due process, without judicial review, without the opportunity to surrender rather than be killed.  This is wrong.  

    My desire is for Americans and the American democracy this country is founded on have more integrity than to let this continue without challenge.

    Thank you again for such a thorough coverage of the events leading up to and including today.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site