Washington-- After initial interruptions from protestors, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan today faced a tense grilling by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee during his confirmation hearing to be CIA director, repeatedly fielding questions about the U.S. drone program that he has helped shape over the past four years.
Brennan, who has served for the past four years as President Obama's principal policy adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism, was interrupted by protesters five times during his opening remarks, leading committee chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to demand a halt to the hearing and that "associates" of the group leading the protest be excluded from the audience.
When the session reconvened, Brennan defended the controversial, mostly-clandestine policy of targeted, "drone strike" killings that he has helped architect - and which has been a point of much criticism among those on the left -- including inquiries about the recently-leaked memo outlining the expansive justification with which the U.S. authorizes the use of drone strikes.
Brennan argued that the there is a "misimpression" among the American people about the circumstances in which strikes are implemented, and suggested that the protesters were "reacting to a lot of falsehoods that are out there" about how the program operates.
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