Brennan defends US drones at hearing

2013-02-08 08:32
Drone (Picture: AP)

Drone (Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - CIA Director-designate John Brennan strongly defended anti-terror attacks by unmanned drones on Thursday under close questioning at a protest-disrupted confirmation hearing.

On a second controversial topic, he said that after reading a classified intelligence report on harsh interrogation techniques, he does not know if water boarding has yielded useful information.

Despite what he called a public misimpression, Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee that drone strikes are used only against targets planning to carry out attacks against the United States, never as retribution for an earlier one. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he declared.

Referring to one American citizen killed by a drone in Yemen in 2011, he said the man, Anwar al-Alawki, had ties to at least three attacks planned or carried out on US soil.

They included the Fort Hood, Texas shooting that claimed 13 lives in 2009, a failed attempt to down a Detroit-bound airliner the same year and a thwarted plot to bomb cargo planes in 2010.

"He was intimately involved in activities to kill innocent men women and children, mostly Americans," Brennan said.

In a sign that the hearing had focused intense scrutiny on the drone programme, Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein told reporters after the hearing that she thinks it may be time to lift the secrecy off the program so that US officials can acknowledge the strikes and correct what she said were exaggerated reports of civilian casualties.

Feinstein said she and a number of other senators are considering writing legislation to set up a special court system to regulate drone strikes, similar to the one that signs off on government surveillance in espionage and terror cases.

Speaking with uncharacteristic openness about the classified programme, Feinstein said the CIA had allowed her staff to make more than 30 visits to the CIA's Langley, Virginia, headquarters to monitor strikes, but that the transparency needed to be widened.

"I think the process set up internally is a solid process," Feinstein said, but added: "I think there's an absence of knowing exactly who is responsible for what decision.

So I think we need to look at this whole process and figure a way to make it transparent and identifiable."

Fewer than 50 strikes took place during the Bush administration, while more than 360 strikes have been launched under Obama, according to the website The Long War Journal, which tracks the operations.

'Enhanced interrogation'

Brennan is a veteran of more than three decades in intelligence work, and is currently serving as Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser in the White House.

Any thought he had of becoming CIA director four years ago vanished amid questions about the role he played at the CIA when the Bush administration approved water boarding and other forms of "enhanced interrogation" of suspected terrorists.

On the question of water boarding, Brennan said that while serving as a deputy manager at the CIA during the Bush administration, he was told such interrogation methods produced "valuable information."

Now, after reading a 300-page summary of a 6 000-page report on CIA interrogation and detention policies, he said he does "not know what the truth is."

- SAPA
Read more on:    cia  |  al-qaeda  |  john brennan  |  us  |  us plane attack
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something is blocking the flow of things today and it is easy to become frustrated and pessimistic. The problem is that your mind...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.