WASHINGTON – The Senate Intelligence Committee will delay voting to confirm John Brennan as CIA director as the panel’s Democratic chairwoman demanded on Wednesday that the White House turn over more details about lethal drone strikes on terror suspects and last September’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said the vote likely will be pushed off until late February.
In a statement, the California Democrat said senators need to see more classified legal opinions that justify using the unmanned spy planes to kill al-Qaida suspects overseas, including American citizens. The Obama administration last week released two of nine classified Justice Department memos outlining the legal reasoning to Feinstein’s committee just hours before Brennan’s confirmation hearing in front of the panel.
Feinstein said the memos are necessary “in order to fully evaluate the executive branch’s legal reasoning.”
Feinstein and other lawmakers are considering creating a special court to review strikes against U.S. citizens. In 2011, drone strikes in Yemen killed three Americans: U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old-son and al-Qaida propagandist Samir Khan.