News / USA

    Senate Confirms Brennan to Head CIA

    John Brennan at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Feb. 7, 2013.
    John Brennan at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Feb. 7, 2013.
    Michael Bowman
    The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Barack Obama’s pick to head the CIA, counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan.

    The 63-34 vote ends a contentious nomination process that was delayed amid heated arguments over America’s use of unmanned aircraft, known as drones.  

    With more than three decades of experience in U.S. intelligence matters, John Brennan’s qualifications to lead the CIA were never in doubt.  In fact, much of the late fury surrounding his nomination had little to do with Brennan at all.

    During his confirmation hearing last month, senators grilled Brennan about U.S. drone strikes in countries like Yemen and Afghanistan.  Earlier this week, Republicans sought answers from the Obama administration about the possible use of drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil. 

    This video frame grab provided by Senate Television shows Sen. Rand Paul speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.This video frame grab provided by Senate Television shows Sen. Rand Paul speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
    x
    This video frame grab provided by Senate Television shows Sen. Rand Paul speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
    This video frame grab provided by Senate Television shows Sen. Rand Paul speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
    When Attorney General Eric Holder did not absolutely rule out such use, Senator Rand Paul spoke on the Senate floor for 13 consecutive hours Wednesday to delay a confirmation vote on Brennan.

    “The president says, ‘I have not killed anyone yet.’  He goes on to say, ‘I have no intention of killing Americans, but I might.’  Is that enough?  Are we satisfied by that," asked Paul.

    Other Republicans criticized Paul.  Senator John McCain labeled it “ridiculous” to even suggest that a president might deploy armed drones to kill American citizens in non-emergency situations.

    Shortly before the vote, Paul proclaimed himself satisfied by a letter he received from Holder in which the attorney general stated that the president does not, in fact, have the authority to use a drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil.

    The CIA has lacked a director since David Petraeus abruptly resigned last year, a fact noted by the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein.

    Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill, March 5, 2013, after a closed-door committee vote on CIA director nominee John Brennan.Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill, March 5, 2013, after a closed-door committee vote on CIA director nominee John Brennan.
    x
    Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill, March 5, 2013, after a closed-door committee vote on CIA director nominee John Brennan.
    Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill, March 5, 2013, after a closed-door committee vote on CIA director nominee John Brennan.
    “The CIA director position must be filled," said Feinstein. "Five months is too long to leave it vacant.  And John Brennan, I believe, and 12 members of our committee believe, is the right person to fill it.”

    The Intelligence Committee has compiled an exhaustive report on CIA abuses committed at secret sites used to interrogate terror suspects after the attacks of September 11, 2001.  Democratic Senator Mark Udall said John Brennan has work to do.

    John Brennan

    • 2009-present: Assistant to President Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism
    • 2005-2008: President and CEO of The Analysis Corporation
    • 2004-2005: Interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center
    • 2003-2004: Director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center
    • 2001-2003: CIA deputy executive director
    “Our government has an obligation to the American people to face its mistakes transparently, help the public understand the nature of those mistakes, and then correct them," said Udall. "And in this regard, the next director of the CIA has an important task.  The specific mistakes I am referring to are outlined in the Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-page report on the CIA’s deeply-flawed detention and interrogation program.  Acknowledging the flaws of this program is essential for the CIA’s long term institutional integrity."

    Before serving as a White House counter-terrorism advisor, Brennan had a long career in the CIA that began in 1980.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora