The Senate confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan got off to a dramatic start Thursday with protesters interrupting so frequently that the room had to be cleared.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein halted the proceedings after five interruptions from protesters speaking out against the nation's drone attacks against terrorist targets abroad. The hearing resumed several minutes later, after the audience had been screened to block protesters from returning.
Feinstein said other hearings have had interruptions before, but not this many. Before the hearing room was cleared, audience members could be seen holding signs including: "STOP CIA Murder," and "Brennan = War Criminal." One woman held up a doll and spoke out against the drone attacks that she said result in the deaths of casualties including children in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.
Brennan, a 25 year CIA veteran, who now serves as Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor, has defended the legality of the drone operations and said they prevent potential terror attacks. Critics have raised concerns about drone attacks resulting in civilian casualties. If confirmed, he would take the role left open by David Petraeus, who resigned in November.
President Barack Obama had earlier ordered that information be released for members of the House and Senate intelligence panels to read about the legal case for drone strikes abroad against U.S. citizens who are considered a threat.
Via the Associated Press and Politix