WASHINGTON (AP) — Nominated to head the CIA, John Brennan told a protest-disrupted Senate confirmation hearing Thursday the United States remains at war with al-Qaida and other terrorists and is under "daily cyberattack" by foreign countries and others.
In a statement delivered before he answered questions, Brennan promised to keep members of the congressional intelligence committees "fully and currently informed" and acknowledged that the CIA "is not immune from scrutiny" of its efforts to safeguard the nation.
The hearing was interrupted repeatedly — once before it began and then several times before Brennan had completed his brief statement. At one point, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ordered the proceedings halted and the room cleared so those re-entering could be screened to block obvious protesters.
The shouted protests centered on CIA drone strikes that have killed three American citizens and an unknown number of foreigners overseas.
It was a topic very much on the mind of the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who eventually will vote on Brennan's confirmation.
In the hours before the hearing began, President Barack Obama ordered that a classified paper outlining the legal rationale for striking at U.S. citizens be made available for members of the House and Senate intelligence panels to read.
It was an attempt to clear the way for Brennan's approval, given hints from some lawmakers that they might hold up confirmation unless they had access to the material.
In his opening statement, Brennan said, "The need for accurate intelligence and prescient analysis from CIA has never been greater than it is in 2013 — or that it will be in the coming years."
He said historic transformations continue sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa, with "major implications for our interests, Israel's security, our Arab partners and the prospects for peace and stability throughout the region."
Additionally, Iran and North Korea "remain bent on pursuing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile delivery systems," he noted.
He said the United States remains at war with al-Qaida and its associated forces, which he said seek to "carry out deadly strikes against our homeland and our citizens as well as against our friends."
As for U.S. computer systems, he said they are under daily attack by "nation states, international criminal organizations, subnational groups and individual hackers."
Brennan is a veteran of more than three decades in intelligence work, and most recently served as Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser in the White House. Any thought he had of becoming CIA director four years ago vanished amid questions of the role he played at the CIA when the Bush administration approved waterboarding and other forms of "enhanced interrogation" of suspected terrorists.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday the White House is making "extraordinary accommodation" in allowing lawmakers to view classified Justice Department legal advice on drone strikes against Americans. Carney said the White House does not plan to send the Justice memos to lawmakers beyond those on the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Yale University says an 1858 manuscript it acquired is the earliest known prison memoir written by an African-American.
Members of the Newtown Action Alliance, the Newtown Foundation and family members of gun violence will gather today at the National Cathedral in Washington DC for a vigil honoring all victims of gun violence.
A 19-year-old former Olympian from Suriname faces larceny and other charges in the use of credit cards owned by a teammate on the UConn swim team.
An adult and a teen have been arrested in connection with a drunk driving crash that killed a Hebron teenager in August.
From the roads to the rails, to the skies above, everything is on the table as the state reveals its biggest transportation challenges.
Advocates for homeless young people in Connecticut say the state has a lack of available safe housing for young people in crisis and say more and better housing is needed.
Former IBM executive Nicholas Donofrio of Ridgefield has been named the new chairman of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.
Exercise is good for your body, but can also be good for your mind. That's why educators at one Connecticut school are making it part of students weekly routine before the school day even starts.
Someone in New Haven county is going to be $1 million richer after they check their ticket for Wednesday night's Powerball drawing.
Danbury police have charged a teenager with murder and assault in the stabbing death of a 19-year-old man during a melee last weekend.