Five things we learned from John Brennan's confirmation hearing
John Brennan at Senate confirmation hearing to be CIA Director
February 7th, 2013
11:06 PM ET

Five things we learned from John Brennan's confirmation hearing

By Pam Benson

John Brennan came well-prepared Thursday and held his own during questioning at his Senate confirmation hearing to become the 21st director of the Central Intelligence Agency. It was in stark contrast to what was considered by many as an ill-prepared, lethargic performance by defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel at his confirmation hearing last week.

Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee mostly grilled Brennan about his knowledge of the CIA's controversial interrogation and detention program and the lethal targeting of suspected terrorists. Republicans tended to focus on leaks of secret information about counterterrorism activities.

While on one hand Brennan was forceful with his answers, on the other he seemed very careful with his choice of words.

Here are five things we learned from the hearing:

1. Doubts on harsh interrogations

Brennan had said in the past that although he opposed some of the harsh interrogation techniques that were used on suspected terrorists during the George W. Bush administration, CIA reports that he had seen when he was a senior official at the agency indicated valuable information came from the use of those techniques and had saved lives. But he now has doubts after reading the 300-page summary of a recently completed intelligence committee report on the interrogation and detention program. Brennan told the senators a number of things in the Senate report were "very concerning and disturbing" to him.

The 6,000 page report was based on mostly CIA documents, however. No CIA officers past or present were interviewed for the report.

Brennan said he would have to wait for the CIA to complete its review of the report before he drew any final conclusions. "Now I have to determine what the truth is. I do not know what the truth is," Brennan told the committee.

Brennan was asked by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, ranking Republican on the committee, why he didn't try to stop the interrogations if he objected to them. He responded that he was aware of the program and personally objected to parts of it, but didn't take action to stop it because his job as deputy executive director did not put him "in the chain of command" for the program.

2. The agony of targeted killing

Brennan told the committee that the use of targeted killing against suspected al Qaeda terrorists overseas who pose an imminent threat to the United States is only used as a last resort. He said the United States does not conduct strikes "to punish terrorists for past transgressions." Brennan agreed the public has a misunderstanding of what the government is doing and doesn't realize "the care that we take and the agony that we go through to make sure that we do not have any collateral injuries or deaths."

3. Get ready for more droning on drones

For the first time the public heard an open discussion about the secret targeted killing program with Brennan defending the adminstration’s approach.

Brennan agreed with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, that Americans need to have a full understanding of government rules involving the use of armed drones to conduct targeted killings against American citizens overseas who are considered senior operational leaders of al Qaeda or one of its affiliates. "I have been a strong proponent of trying to be as open as possible with these programs as far as our explaining what we're doing," Brennan said. "So what we need to do is make sure we explain to the American people what the thresholds for action, what are the procedures, the practices, the processes, the approvals, the reviews." He suggested this hearing was a good start and advocated for more speeches by the executive branch to explain its counterterrorism efforts.

4. Authorized leaks are an oxymoron

Last year, Republicans accused the Obama administration of intentionally leaking information about successful secret counterterrorism operations to make the president look good in an election year. At the hearing on Thursday, some GOP senators hammered away at Brennan about one of those leaks - a thwarted al Qaeda bomb plot in Yemen that involved a mole. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, wanted to know whether it was possible to put out an authorized leak. Brennan gave an emphatic no and said that would be an "oxymoron." The information would have to be declassified to be disclosed, said Brennan "and done in a proper way."

Brennan took exception to the charge he was responsible for the Yemen leak, which is being investigated by the Justice Department.

When Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, bluntly said, "it seems to me that the leak that (the) Justice Department is looking for is right here in front of us," Brennan said he "vehemently disagreed." He added he voluntarily was interviewed by prosecutors and was told he is considered a witness and not a suspect.

5. Trust of CIA directors

It appears Brennan might be looked upon more highly then some of his predecessors if he is confirmed as CIA director - at least in the eyes of some senators.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, complained about being "jerked around" around by just about all of the CIA directors she has been associated with over the past 10 years. She asked Brennan for his word that he would be forthcoming and speak truth to power, something Brennan promised to do.

But Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, had no doubts about his trust in Brennan. He said in his 28 years in the Senate, he couldn't recall "anybody who was more forthright, more direct, more accommodating" and willing to work with the committee. The chairwoman of the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein seconded her colleague's comments and added, "you really didn't hedge."

Coats complimented Brennan for giving straight answers, being blunt and candid.

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Filed under: Brennan • CIA • Security Brief
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. angel

    Ecclesiastes 3:8: A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
    And there's a time for learning war no more,that time was when Jesus Christ came and died on the Cross for all sin,including the sins of wars.Jesus knew the Scriptures,and he he knew it was his time to fulfill them,to fulfill all the prophets,including the prophet Isaiah,and Isaiah 2:4,man learns war no more-and today is the day of Salvation.

    February 11, 2013 at 12:05 am | Reply
    • C'mon Man!

      oh puke.... seriously?

      March 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  2. Kenneth

    Pam should learn the difference between "than and then" – "5. Trust of CIA directors

    It appears Brennan might be looked upon more highly then some of his predecessors..."

    February 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Reply
    • crazyvermont

      Really??? He opposes harsh interrogation but is ok with being judge, jury and executioner

      February 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Reply
  3. Ancient Texan

    Just curious–how much usable intelligence about other terrorists and their future plans do we gleen from the "death by drone" actions?

    February 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  4. Jaws3119

    We found out he can lie as well as Obumer and Clinton.

    February 10, 2013 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • Tom

      Thank you, Jaws3119. How true that is!

      February 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  5. Politicnotes

    We have learned that Marco Rubio does not have "command of the facts" when it comes to Foreign Policy. How does a U.S. Senator not know that each country works with their own rule of law? Rubio's new Top Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor is Jamie Fly. Fly is a "ardent supporter" of a war with Iran. Maybe Fly should be advising Rubio in taking a class on "international laws" instead of advising neocon policies.

    February 10, 2013 at 9:09 am | Reply
    • Ancient Texan

      We have also learned that Obama has no foreign policy other than apology and appeasement.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Reply
      • Politicnotes

        General Colin Powell disagrees with that statement. Apparently, the majority of Americans disagree with that statement.That phrase was a "talking point" that The Republicans could never back up with facts. Marco Rubio's hiring of Jamie Fly was only to boost his "espousing hawkish views" credentials. Marco Rubio has a "credibility gap". It started with his "embellishment" of his personal biography. That goes to the "character issue".

        February 11, 2013 at 7:21 am |
  6. Tom

    We learned that Brennan IS NOT the man for the head of the CIA!

    February 9, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  7. Jeb

    We learned that Republicans would rather see the country be attacked by terrorists than see our President succeed at keeping us safe.

    February 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
    • K from AZ

      Egypt, Libya, Iran, Syria etc., really gives a feeling of safety! You know, everyone has a right to be stupid: you, however, are abusing the privilege!

      February 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Reply
      • erik

        one event, 9/11. Yeah, Iran doesn't seem that bad does it?

        February 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • DB

      These are the same tactics use during the Bush administrator but all Dems opposite but now its all good and legal. where is ACLU on this issue?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  8. Travis

    Anyone with half a brain knows that John Brennan along with Obama and his crowd are a bunch of war criminals who need to be indicted and brought to justice, so just is what's left to learn?

    February 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • krm1007

      killing terrorists is not war crime, not here, or not any where in the world. Look my brother Muhammed, what Syrians are doing? Killing these people is a big favor to the world.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
      • Tom

        Just exactly who are you to judge these people, krm1007? And who gave you the moral authority to decide who should live and who should die? In fact, Barack Obama and his crowd of right-wing fanatics need to be indicted and tried at the I.C.C. for crimes against humanity!

        February 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Henry

      If they where german you bet would be charged and end up in prison if not hanged but amaricans can get away with that stuff.What a terrible doble standard

      February 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  9. Sleeping OBAMA

    We learned....

    Good Men Fought and Good Men Died
    While a President Slept the Night Away.
    For Seven Hours Straight
    They hoped for help
    but their calls were in vain.
    All the time OBAMA slept.
    and one by one they did fall
    and one by one they did DIE
    and all the time OBAMA slept.

    February 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • krm1007

      we have the same problems here in Pakistan, corrupt politicians and crook army generals are sleeping (or they are paid to close their eyes) at the desk, while innocent people are getting blown away by Al Qaeda.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • Jeb

      What you learned:

      Nothing that Faux News and 24/7 hate radio didn't teach you.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Reply
      • Ancient Texan

        The news source you demean is the ONLY one to present the news and do it fairly..the rest are Obama propaganda outlets. The cover-up continues by the administration.

        February 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Astonished at the expectations

      If the President were never allowed to sleep while American lives were on the line... he'd never get any rest. I for one do not want a malnourished, sleep-deprived President leading our nation into any situation... war included.

      Get some rest, Mr. President... if you can sleep over all the crazy and stupid shouting outside your window.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • Sodomite

      So?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • RAL

      This is all so disgusting when will Obama have done Nothing enough to be Impeached seems he is coming close to being everything a President shouldn't be, He is defiant egotistical and his knowledge of the job is NIL.. Never before have we had such a clueless guy in charge even Jimmy Carter wasn't this dumb!! people who voted for him now are seeing th Light being taxed to death a ruined economu and our Miitary being downsize wit the risk of attack getting mover evedent every day as he ignores iran and the the Mid east upheval.. This guy is not only dangerous but in over his head . He was chosen to work socialiaum into our system. How do es he do it ruin our economy make us a nanny country with his fair distribution of wealth till it is gone and he is King./dictator he already is flexing those muscles all he cares about is campaigning telling lies to those who worship him to our detriment we who see through the smile glad handing and let me take care of you crap!!!!!!!!!

      February 9, 2013 at 9:40 am | Reply
  10. massoud

    What I learned is Obama rules with an iron fist inside of a velvet glove.

    February 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  11. lmc11

    Wow, Panetta and Dempsy both being grilled on Bengazi and not a word on CNN. Could it be bacause the hearing proves that Obama AND Hillary did NOTHING to protect or even to try to rescue the Americans being attacked. CNN is the State Run Media!!!

    February 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  12. ugh

    What did we learn? – Obama slept thorugh the whole Libya fiasco, with just one 15 minute phone call. Good job – this would be grounds for dismisal in any other job!

    February 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  13. LogicNotHuff

    With Brennan, as with Panetta, as with Hillary Clinton, you get an army of 60 year old former Woodstockers who show all the characteristics having been on LSD since 1970.

    February 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  14. Lider Comunitario Natanael

    Sucesso amigo , John Brennan !!!

    February 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • Kerry

      No es gracioso Natanael, incluso en espanol! Todo el mundo ya sabe que !ni John Brennan ni Barack Obama no buenos para nada! No mas chistes, por favor.

      February 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  15. John Wayne

    If you read the 5 points notice that nothing is devulged. Nothing is said. Same B___F_ING_S_H__T we hear all the time. He didn't supoort water boarding during the Bush Administration nor did he support Drone strikes. However it's different now that he is up for the post.
    This is the beginning of targeted American strikes, what I fear is when they use them on Americans on American soil. The day is comming and I wouldn't be too supprised if they use it on that crazy LAPD officer.
    Bunch of doubletalk answering a question with a question garbage.

    February 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • dreamer96

      Hmmm

      The Real John Wayne had lung cancer and beat that,...but died of stomach cancer....Google the John Wayne movie "The Conqueror"...and read up on how so many of the cast and crew died later of cancer,..They were filming a movie down wind of YUCCA Flats a US Nuclear Weapons test site....Nothing like filming in a radiation covered desert....

      Al Qa'da is still trying to get nuclear material...a nuclear bomb....

      February 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  16. Bob

    What did we learn? We learnt that the US government is not interested in the findings of numerous independent, and on the ground, investigations that have established the fact of an alarming number of civilian casualties in these so called precise drone strikes, over which they apparently agonize. For one example refer to the recent Stanford/NYU study. The only way the US gov can come up with its figures is by labelling almost everyone they kill as a suspected militant – how convenient, and how dishonest. Similarly today on the BBC, a study by the UN of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in ISAF operations. Same result, same denials by ISAF. Seems to me to be a case of intentional self denial for whatever reason.

    February 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  17. superlogi

    Not only did we learn that this mendacious twit is a perfect match for this administration, but that some of our Senatorial legislators are partisan hacks who will say anything to promote their leftist agenda.

    February 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  18. Chris

    DONT DO IT! DONT LET THIS GUY IN!

    February 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  19. Nick

    We learned nothing. The fact that Panetta and Obama had one phone call during/after Benghazi should have come out months ago – it should have certainly been announced prior to the election as it is a dereliction of duty. The fact that it was withheld from the American people borders on traitorous as it would have absolutely affected the election.

    February 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • onobono

      Nick, Nick,Nick,
      Dont you realize that if Obama had acknowledged the attach at terrorism, instead of blaming a video, he would have ramped up the BLAME REPUBLICAN rhetoric. Simply exchange the YOUTUBE video for REPUBLICAN TEA PARTY EXTREMISTS, excuse and you see, the mob liberals would have been just as satisfied with that answer.

      February 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  20. joesmith

    there is no way to peace, peace is the way..

    February 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  21. the middle man

    If you care about the truth in Benghazi and not the truth about IRAQ, you are not a real American, you are a frat boy.

    February 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • WV Gleeman

      That is too subtle for "them" sir.

      February 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • charlieHorse

      Silly straw man argument. Brennan had a duty and obligation as a deputy director of the CIA to file formal objections to any CIA program in which improper or illegal acts were authorized. And this obligation supercedes the question of whether or not he was in the line of command on a specific policy. Why else was he in on the meetings, if his opinion wasn't pertinent?

      And how can any sane, rational human being believe that targeting and killing people is NOT worse than a program of waterboarding or sleep derivation – which are nothing more than a temporary discomfort to the recipient – who is able to walk and talk after the ordeal? Ask yourself if it were you would death be preferable?

      February 11, 2013 at 7:11 am | Reply
  22. tuscany590

    How about doing an article about what we learned from Panetta on Benghazi? Like, obama was absent, Hillary was absent & they both lied about it.

    February 8, 2013 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • onobono

      Come oooonnnnn, that is holding Oboma accountable for his incompetence. And that is absolutely NOT allowed.

      February 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  23. WakeUp48

    This is the power of a dictator. That Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were said to have this power was part of their demonization as “brutal dictators,” a justification for overthrowing their governments and murdering the dictators and their supporters.

    Ironic, isn’t it, that the president of the United States now murders his political opponents just as Saddam Hussein murdered his. How long before critics move from the no-fly list to the extermination list?

    February 8, 2013 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • dreamer96

      Wakeup48

      Reagan was a dictator..and a WMD's salesman,and supplier, a illegal drugs dealer, a illegal weapons dealer....and sold all that to terrorist nations....

      February 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Reply
      • onobono

        Bwaahahahha. Ever hear of Fast and Furious? Ever wonder where the FSA gets their weapons. Guess who we just "sold" a bunch of F-16s and tanks to????

        I am sure you think Reagan, the greatest president of the modern times, was a dictator, much like you think a strict parent is a meany.

        February 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • charlieHorse

        Surely you are losing your mind if you believe your own twaddle!

        February 11, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • James

      If you are an American, you are a traitor. Glad you still remember your English. Whether you are or not, there is a simple way to avoid drone strikes – don't join Al Qaeda, and don't plan attacks on US citizens at home or abroad. Is that a drone fired Hellfire approaching that I hear in the background?

      February 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
      • WV Gleeman

        James, James, James.....what you just mentioned does not tell the truth about the conspiracy. You know, the conspiracy that the government (you know, the one that is incapable of doing anything right) has a nation-wide conspiracy element that will use these laws and powers against the people. If anything history has shown us it's that the government is always using it's power against the citizens and there is no repurcussions for it's actions.

        February 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • dreamer96

        WV Gleeman

        Go back and read your history books about the British East India Company....The government is usually bought and paid for by the super rich ....all through history....The British East India Company had their own army, could operate outside of the British Crown,...and caused a famine in India that killed millions.....We need to fear the super rich too...because right now in America..they are buying control of our government....

        February 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  24. Monomachos

    Point #1 – According to Brennan, the enhanced interrogations did reveal important information – until Brennan is trying to secure his appointment and dealing with people who don't want to believe that; now he's not sure....

    February 8, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
  25. RDH

    what we learn is this is just another dog and pony show and barely any truth got out but at least America's aware that we have an extensive Predator drone program.

    February 8, 2013 at 11:37 am | Reply
  26. Vitaly

    #2 is a load of BS. The misunderstanding part is simply an attempt to get us to believe exactly what he is saying. I understand very well that have a kill list-it's see target , shoot target. The whole paragraph is a complete bunch of S%$T!

    February 8, 2013 at 11:25 am | Reply
  27. dean

    Why is there zero coverage about the fact that OBAMA called only one time to check up on what was happening Benghazi? 1 Conversations around 5pm. He never called back to check, didnt care. Typical of CNN to bury the story. So more or less Americans at our Embassy are overseas getting attacked by Terrorists and the President gets the low down, then just goes to sleep no problem. Amazing. Probably he was plotting what to do after re-election and pondering if Gays should be allowed into the Boy Scouts...just amazing.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • Fidgit

      I bet you see liberals hiding behind your sofa.
      BOO !

      February 8, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
      • dean

        Bush or Obama not checking up on Terrorist attacks should be covered the same. Media hounded Bush about everything and should question Obama, but thats right Obama does not get the tough questions. I dont care what party the President belongs to. He has a job to do, and sticking his nose in what the Boy Scouts are doing should not be his priority, but it is...lol That about says it all. As a conservative, I dont care where the liberals are hiding I will continue to support those that share common sense values and live my life according to my values. Not some President h### bent on taking the country down the incorrect path. Good luck to all :)

        February 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Dean

      And after George Bush was told a plane just crashed into the Twin Towers he stayed in the school room for how long...

      and his father watch for how long as New Orleans was destroyed...and the New Orleans Major was on TV screaming for aid from the Federal Government?.....

      Obama is not a military General....He has to rely on his experts.....Donald Rumsfeld had over 100,000 well armed US troops in Iraq and could not protect them from attacks..from IED's....and all that started just days after Donald Rumsfeld sent 250,000 Iraq troops home without any jobs or money...

      February 8, 2013 at 11:15 am | Reply
      • onobono

        AHHH, the liberal feeble mind at work. Compares an 8 hour coordinated attack, Benghazi, to the almost simulatneous crashing of jets into the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and the final PA crash (which was foiled by civilians). HAHAHA you libs are so FAIL.

        February 8, 2013 at 11:33 am |
      • dreamer96

        onobono

        But you are forgetting that NORAD had drills just like the real attack on 9/11/2001...Hijacked planes loaded with jet fuel to be used as home made cruise missiles to hit our government buildings...including the CIA headquarters....Why was John P. O'Neill the head of the FBI BIn Laden team driven out of the FBI just days before the attack....Why did Condoleeza Rice turn down a request by Richard Clarke for a last line of defense around New York and Washington DC...to setup SAM sites...Surface to Air Missile sites ...which are now in place and used at all the Olympics and Super Bowl games...

        February 8, 2013 at 11:47 am |
      • tuscany590

        Not about Bush, his father had nothing to do with New Orleans, Nagan was the fool who screwed up the Katrina evacuation and obama routinely goes against the advice of his military & intelligence staff, as testified to yesterday.

        February 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • dean

        Agree about Bush. I would have finished up in about 10 seconds and made up an ending to the story I was reading to the kids. I imagine Bush would have checked up what happened throughout the night. Even Clinton would have. Obama is totally different. Fact is Obama gets a pass on a lot of things, other than on Fox news. Treat him the same as Bush and you would see the real Obama come out :)

        February 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      • charlieHorse

        The Secret Service advised Bush to remain and appear calm to avoid a public panic. Why are you regurgitating all the false assertions that emanated from ideological crackpots?

        February 11, 2013 at 7:18 am |
    • Monomachos

      Excellent point – too bad that did not come out during the election. We did get to see pictures of the president watching the Obama killing go down. I suppose the relevant photo here would have been the president watching Comedy Central as Benghazi was happening.

      February 8, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
      • dean

        Maybe they will dig up another picture of Obama watching the attack in real time all night, like the recent shotgun photo :) But then again it was just people walking down the street with RPGs saying hey lets kill some Americans? (clinton). You got to love the liberal mindset.

        February 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • dreamer96

        Dean

        And don't you remember the many videos of the students in Libya trying to learn to shoot real military weapons....Many videos of that...School kids running around with RPG's...School kids firing mortars, and rocket launchers, driving military equipment captured from the Libyan army...like tanks.....You remember how the students turned back a group of Professional Libyan troops by burning old carpet scrapes under the tanks...they covered the carpets with gasoline and lighted them as the tanks drove over them....

        February 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • dean

      Bush or Obama not checking up on Terrorist attacks should be covered the same. Media hounded Bush about everything and should question Obama, but thats right Obama does not get the tough questions. I dont care what party the President belongs to. He has a job to do, and sticking his nose in what the Boy Scouts are doing should not be his priority, but it is...lol That about says it all. As a conservative, I dont care where the liberals are hiding I will continue to support those that share common sense values and live my life according to my values. Not some President h### bent on taking the country down the incorrect path. Good luck to all :)

      February 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • Consequence

      The bottom line with Benghazi was that the State Department did not adequately prepare for the safety of its staff or even issue instructions about travel in hot spots on 9/11. All The President's Men are prepared to make excuses and pass the buck, but when you live in hostile territory, you must be prepared. No Consulate can defend itself..their defensive measures are only designed to buy a little time. With a Marine presence, you buy a little more time, but ultimately you must rely on the forces of the host country to come to your aid. This means not just talk, but drills and specific action plans. If you discover the host country is incapable of carrying out its responsibilities, we must make other arrangements to protect the Consulate ourselves or to close it. So far as I can see, Hillary had none of this in place and Obama was not focused on the problem. The failure got people killed. In fact, one could argue that U.S. policy in forcing the defeat of Libya – led by a dictator with whom Obama shared diplomatic relations and who was no longer a threat to the U.S., has had horrific consequences to include, besides Benghazi, the arming of Al Qaeda and others with weapons from the fallen Libyan Government and deaths in Algeria and Mali from weapons gained from U.S. support of the overthrow of the Government of Libya. It is all connected – like the shin bone to the knee bone.

      February 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • ghostriter

      maybe because not two seconds later, Panetta says the president was well informed of the situation.

      Only republicans take a part of a hearing, make it a focus of the entire hearing and run a smear campaign based on it. How has that worked for you guys this last election?

      You didn't build that......

      February 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • WV Gleeman

      A question. Is the problem that the President made a mistake or is the problem that President Obama made a mistake? You don't really have to answer that because we already know the answer.

      February 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
      • Jason

        Do you stick up for him at every turn because he is the President or because he is President Obama and a democrat? YOU don't have to answer because we already know the answer.

        February 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  28. dreamer96

    1. Doubts on harsh interrogations

    Why is it getting the subject drunk, or high, is still the most common method used around the world ...not beating the guy up or yanking out his finger nails.....More sensitive information is opening talked about at the average Washington DC social political party with free drinks.....Orin Hatch told the whole world we were listening to Bin Laden's phone calls....and the GOP did nothing..maybe they wanted to send Bin Laden a message...Halliburton was making sooo much money off the war...

    2. The agony of targeted killing

    They worry about innocent by standers getting hurt..no one wants that...but the GOP criticized Clinton for not launch cruise missiles on Bin Laden..because he was with a Saudi Prince...and that flight was one hour to even get to the target.. ..oh and we fire bombed Tokyo in WWII that was Curtis Lemay..

    These drones can fly over difficult terrain...and fire down on buildings and cars...I suppose it would be better to send a few helicopters a few hundred miles into dangerous areas and hope they all get back alive....
    3. Get ready for more droning on drones

    For the most part the rules are clear to identify the targets.....a few really bad mistakes have been made in the past...but not as many as were made by manned helicopters ....so the question should be ..are the unmanned better are reducing innocent bystanders getting killed...Our manned helicopters had many innocent killed...what are the real numbers based on number of flights and support command behind the order to shoot....These drones provide real time video and the higher ups can see the situation by then with our manned helicopter..We could use better wide view cameras along with the targeting camera. for better situation awareness..

    4. Authorized leaks are an oxymoron

    Well they happen in the Pentagon...when one project wants to end another project...all over funding battles.....

    Our news reporters get tips all the time and report that the next day...and those tips usually come from highly place individuals that want their name with held..because they are not authorized to talk about it to anyone....oh brother..

    5. Trust of CIA directors

    The trust needs to goes both ways....like I already said the GOP did nothing to Orin Hatch...but they want to nail someone now over leaks they can not prove.... They put one CIA agent in jail for 30 months for telling the world about water boarding an international war crime....but seem to let others who leaked information or broke the rules off the hook...

    February 8, 2013 at 9:57 am | Reply
  29. anonymousguerrillamailblockcom

    We already knew that Obama was a born killer – a Chicago Black Male.

    February 8, 2013 at 9:54 am | Reply
    • dreamer96

      And Dick Cheney has a problem with corporate lawyers....put a corporate lawyer in front of Dick Cheney, and hand him a gun and he has to shoot...

      February 8, 2013 at 10:01 am | Reply
  30. KosmisKowboy

    The author Pam Benson needs to learn the difference between then and than. I can't stand a "journalist" who cannot read or write.

    "It appears Brennan might be looked upon more highly then some of his predecessors if he is confirmed as CIA director"

    Who hired this person? Who will take responsibility?

    February 8, 2013 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • Kathy Smith

      And Ms. Benson feels free to give HER opinion while reporting.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
  31. Fourleaf Tayback

    Brennan's explanation, as well as Panetta and Clinton before, that the "heads up" and time and distance didn't allow enough time for a response to save our men in Benghazi is complete HOGWASH!

    1. There was "heads up" in the Ambassadors request for additional security and the other attacks in Libya leading and NOTHING was done to add security.
    2. The attack lasted 8 hours and two Americans were killed in the last hour. How did Brennan and the others know that the attack wouldn't have lasted 2 days? They left our boys out there without sending any response to stop the attack.
    3. Obama and Clinton never bothered to check up on the response or outcome during the entire 8 hour attack after they were initially made aware of the attack. THEY DIDN'T CARE.

    February 8, 2013 at 9:24 am | Reply
    • dreamer96

      Fourleaf Tayback

      1. There was "heads up" in the Ambassadors request for additional security and the other attacks in Libya leading and NOTHING was done to add security.

      But you forget the request for additional security guards was not for Benghazi....

      2. The Ambassador lost his way in the smoke filled hallways lost his security detail ..and took a wrong turn..and he died from breathing too much smoke....

      3. Who ran the White House on the morning of 9/11/2001...Dick Cheney who probably held a higher national security clearance then GHWBush....In the 1980's when GHWBush was running a small Texas oil company...Dick Cheney was helping to run a super secret supply system providing tons of WMD's to Saddam in Iraq....Was it Disk Cheney that ordered the fighters to intercept the hijacked planes out over the ocean off the east coast....and totally missed the real hijacked aircraft...guaranteeing they would hit their targets in New York and Washington DC...

      February 8, 2013 at 10:11 am | Reply
      • Monomachos

        Funny how no matter what the topic of the moment is, some people feel compelled to rag on Bush. In other words, Bush did bad things; Obama does bad things, but its okay because Bush did bad things. Using Bush to justify Obama is silly and way beyond old.

        February 8, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • dreamer96

        Monomachos

        Bush used the drones to kill...the GOP cheered....
        Bush had many more killed troops on the ground looking for the bad guys...the GOP cheered....

        February 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
      • Darth

        Bush and Cheney are in the past! Obama has been in office over four years now...He did not, nor Hillary, protect our our Embassy and our people PERIOD!!!

        February 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  32. TonyH110

    Every Oligarchy needs its henchmen to keep the lower ranks in order – Brennan fits the bill

    February 8, 2013 at 8:54 am | Reply
  33. empresstrudy

    We was for it before he was against it before he was for it before he was noncommittal before he was repeating whatever Man-God-Obama told him to say.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:41 am | Reply
  34. michaelfury

    "very concerning and disturbing"

    http://pulverizedtonearpower.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/pulverized-to-near-power/

    February 8, 2013 at 7:37 am | Reply
  35. J.V.Hodgson

    I read this summary and have to comments
    1) Apalled again at the content throw enough mud and hope some sticks UGH
    2) these confirmation hearings have become flawed process driven more by politics of the candidates or suspected policy flaws = those which are different to the minority view.
    They have to talk about how any nominees will perform on current and future issues not living in the past, and castigating actions that are still under investigation... wher did innocent until proven guilyt go.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 8, 2013 at 2:55 am | Reply
  36. Humberto

    Why Did the corrupt Senate Dinosaurs move Webster from the FBI to the CIA to internal revenue service ?

    February 8, 2013 at 2:21 am | Reply
  37. Humberto

    Why did the FBI constantly CHALLANGE the CIA veracity under Websters incompetent watch when he was in the FBI.

    February 8, 2013 at 2:19 am | Reply
  38. massoud

    An endorsement from Rockefeller the outgoing W VA Senator who knew he would not win reelection so he decided to save face and not run again for his senate seat ,and a stooge who wanted internet censorship now thats as good as gold

    February 8, 2013 at 12:18 am | Reply

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