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:
By Barbara Starr and Pam Benson
As President Barack Obama's pick for CIA director heads to Capitol Hill Thursday for his confirmation hearing, some in the president's own party are threatening to hold up John Brennan's nomination.
Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden told reporters he would "pull out all the stops" to get answers about the legality of targeting Americans involved with al Qaeda overseas. Wyden was not satisfied with a confidential Justice Department memo that was sent to key congressional committees last year but only became public on Tuesday.
The 16-page white paper indicated the U.S. government could use lethal force against an American citizen overseas if the person is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or one of its affiliates and an attack is imminent. But it was a policy paper rather than the official legal document, which the American Civil Liberties Union says is 50 pages long.
By Jamie Crawford
As many as 54 countries participated in the overseas detention and rendition programs overseen by the CIA in the years following the September 11 attacks, according to a new report from a human rights watchdog group.
The report from the Open Society Justice Initiative is an extensive look at a program that has remained largely unreported in its size and scale despite official acknowledgement from former President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials.
According to the report, 136 people have been subjected to the process of rendition – the transfer of a terrorism suspect by the United States to a third country for interrogation – or have been held in one of the so-called "black site" prisons in third countries run by the CIA.
"The consequence of having so many partners engaged in these operations is that the United States is exposed to continuing embarrassment, liability and censure in multiple jurisdictions outside the United States," Amrit Singh, the report's author told CNN.
President Barack Obama's incoming national security team of John Kerry, Chuck Hagel and John Brennan is far more aligned with the president's way of thinking than the outgoing team. So says retired general Michael Hayden, who is a former Director of National Intelligence and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hayden appeared on CNN's State of the Union to talk about national security issues, along with retired general Stanley McChrystal. The similarity in outlook is a red flag to Hayden, especially compared to Obama's outgoing team of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta.
"I think the new team thinks more like the president thinks when it comes to foreign policy. This will be a team that might not push back as much with regard to cuts or withdrawals or smaller footprints or reluctant moves with new eras," Hayden said.
Asked about the opposition to Hagel, Hayden said Hagel should have few issues with the military should he get confirmed. Senator Hagel was on the intelligence oversight committee when Hayden worked in intelligence.
"He was a member you could talk to, but on a personal base have a candid exchange of views. You could always speak with him and frankly given my time in uniform, that's a tremendous attribute attribute. I think will work out well," Hayden told Candy Crowley on Sunday.
McChrystal said that Hagel's military experience will benefit the potential defense secretary.
"I don't think it's a prerequisite, but I think it's very helpful. And he'll build relationships as he goes. He has a lot of credibility. I don't think it will be a problem," McChrystal said.
By Adam Aigner-Treworgy
Nearly three weeks after nominating chief White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, President Barack Obama on Friday announced a replacement.
Lisa Monaco will serve as the new assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and deputy national security adviser - a long title for a job that up to this point has been filled by the president's closest adviser in the fight against foreign and domestic terrorism.
Monaco comes from the Justice Department, where she has served as assistant attorney general for national security since July 2011. Prior to that assignment, Monaco served as deputy attorney general, chief of staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller, special counsel at the FBI, and during an earlier stint at the Justice Department adviser to Attorney General Janet Reno on national security issues.
A graduate of Harvard University and University of Chicago Law School - where Obama was a professor before entering politics - Monaco spent many years as a prosecutor. FULL POST