By Pam Benson
The undercover officer temporarily running the CIA's spy division who had ties to the agency's controversial interrogation program will not get the job permanently.
CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday the first female to lead the National Clandestine Service will be replaced by a man, a nearly 30-year veteran who served covertly overseas, including a stint as station chief in Pakistan.
The identities of these undercover officials were not made public.
Whether the acting director would get to keep the job was in question due to opposition from a number of senior lawmakers concerned about her ties to the CIA's controversial interrogation and detention program.
By Mariano Castillo and Chelsea Carter
Cyberattacks pose more of an eminent threat to the United States than a land-based attack by a terrorist group, while North Korea's development of a nuclear weapons program poses a "serious threat," the director of national intelligence told Congress on Tuesday.
The warning by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper came in his annual report to Congress of the threats facing the United States. It was one of the rare times since the September 11, 2001, attacks that terrorism was not the leading threat facing the nation.
"Attacks, which might involve cyber and financial weapons, can be deniable and unattributable," Clapper said prepared remarks before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "Destruction can be invisible, latent and progressive."
The Internet is increasingly being used as a tool both by nations and terror groups to achieve their objectives, according to Clapper's report.
By Adam Levine
The White House has agreed to provide senators sitting on the intelligence committee with additional legal opinions related to targeted killings of Americans, the chair of the committee said Tuesday.
The legal opinions, written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), set out the justification for lawfully targeting Americans overseas who are involved in terror-related activities that threatened America or American interests. The statement from Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the opinions would be provided “in a way that allows members to fulfill their oversight responsibilities.”
The White House had already provided some information regarding the justification to Congress.
The agreement could help assuage some senators’ concerns raised about the targeting killing program and the involvement of CIA Director-nominee John Brennan.
“I am pleased the administration has made this information available. It is important for the committee to do its work and will pave the way for the confirmation of John Brennan to be CIA director,” Feinstein said in a statement.
The committee is expected to vote on the Brennan nomination this afternoon. But Brennan’s nomination is still being challenged by several Republicans seeking other answers from the White House. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is demanding the White House respond to whether it would ever seek to use its targeted killing program to go after Americans within the U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is demanding further answers on the administration response to the attack in Benghazi. Both have threatened to block the nomination.
By Pam Benson
The White House has agreed to turn over to the Senate Intelligence Committee additional e-mails and intelligence reports related to the lethal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, according to a congressional source.
The source said some of the materials have already been received by the panel and others "will be provided shortly."
Republican senators have threatened to hold up the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director until they receive e-mails exchanged between the White House and the spy agency concerning public talking points about the deadly attack last September 11.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice relied on those talking points to explain the Obama administration's version of events several days after the armed assault. Her televised comments ignited an election-year controversy, fueled by Republicans, over whether the administration was being truthful about the nature of the attack.
By Barbara Starr
President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the CIA met for an hour with one of the filmmakers of "Zero Dark Thirty," the movie about the agency's effort to find and kill Osama bin Laden.
John Brennan, who currently serves as the president's chief counterterrorism adviser, detailed that meeting for the first time in written answers to questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The panel is considering his nomination to head the spy agency.
Brennan told the committee that he and other White House officials met with filmmaker Mark Boal on June 30, 2011, for an unclassified discussion "on how White House officials viewed the opportunities and risks associated with a film about the raid that killed bin Laden" the previous month. FULL POST
By Pam Benson
A Senate committee vote on whether to confirm John Brennan as CIA director has been put off until lawmakers return from their recess at month's end.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein planned a vote for Thursday, but rules giving members more time to review transcripts of Brennan's testimony from last week's confirmation hearing will push back consideration.
There are also some other issues to resolve.
"Members on both sides of the aisle have asked that certain information be provided to the committee," Feinstein said in a statement.
By Kevin Liptak
President Barack Obama's nominees for secretary of defense and CIA director could be held up by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham unless the White House provides more information about its response to September's attack on an American diplomatic post in Libya.
The South Carolina lawmaker made the threat Sunday on CBS, using the phrase "no confirmation without information" in vowing to put a hold on the nominations of both John Brennan and Chuck Hagel unless the Obama administration provides more information about the Benghazi attack.FULL STORY
By Pam Benson
Should federal judges weigh in on a president's decision to pursue and kill terrorists overseas?
The suggestion, raised at this week's nomination hearing of John Brennan to be CIA director, goes to the heart of the debate on whether President Barack Obama or any U.S. leader should have unfettered power to order the targeted killing of Americans overseas who are al Qaeda terrorists.
Some Democratic senators argued there should be a check on the president's authority to use lethal force, particularly against Americans, as occurred in September 2011 when a CIA-operated armed drone killed American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
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: