Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Brennan Hearing to Draw on Terrorism War; His Role, Views on Drone Strikes, Interrogation Methods and Detention Are Likely to Be Issues

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Brennan Hearing to Draw on Terrorism War; His Role, Views on Drone Strikes, Interrogation Methods and Detention Are Likely to Be Issues

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * A Senate hearing on John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA could lay bare some parts of the secret war against al- Qaida: lethal drone strikes from covert bases against even American terrorism suspects, harsh interrogation methods and long detention of suspects without due process.

Some of the practices produced revulsion among some in Congress and the public, but the outcry has been muted because Brennan and others say that these harsh and secretive methods have saved American lives.

Those issues will be front and center in the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing today for Brennan a chance for him to answer criticism that he backed the detention and interrogation policy while he served at the CIA under President George W. Bush, charges that stymied his first attempt to head the intelligence agency in 2008.

In answers to questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee before the hearing, Brennan said he was "aware of the program but did not play a role in its creation, execution, or oversight," and added that he "had significant concerns and personal objections" to the interrogation techniques.

Brennan also described how individuals are targeted for drone strikes, saying whether a suspect is deemed an imminent threat and therefore appropriate for targeting is made "on a case-by-case basis through a coordinated interagency process" involving intelligence, military, diplomatic and other agencies.

He defended the missile strikes by Predator or Reaper drones as a more humane form of war. Aides have portrayed him as cautious in their use, restraining others at the CIA or military who would use them more often, even though as the White House's counterterrorism czar he has presided over an explosion of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Less than 50 strikes took place during the Bush administration while more than 360 strikes have been launched under President Barack Obama, according to the website The Long War Journal .

Administration officials say Brennan would limit the use of drones by the CIA and leave the majority of strikes to the military. …

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