World Bulletin / News Desk
John Brennan, President Barack Obama's nominee for CIA director, said on Thursday he did not try to stop waterboarding, what most consider torture, as he faced tough congressional questioning on that issue, security leaks and the use of drones to kill Americans.
Lawmakers pressed Brennan on torture tactics employed while he was a CIA official under former President George W. Bush.
The issue of the now-banned techniques derailed Brennan's consideration for CIA director four years ago, and he met it head-on at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"I did not take steps to stop the CIA's use of those techniques. I was not in the chain of command of that program," Brennan said. "I had expressed my personal objections and views to some agency colleagues" about waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, nudity and other techniques, he said.
"But I did not try to stop it, because it was something that was being done in a different part of the agency under the authority of others, and it was something that was directed by the administration at the time," he said.
DOCUMENTS FOR LAWMAKERS' EYES ONLY
In a bid to smooth congressional concerns, Obama on Wednesday ordered the Justice Department to give House and Senate intelligence committees access to a classified legal opinion on killing Americans with drone strikes.
Brennan, 57, has been central in overseeing U.S. government policy on the use of the armed, unmanned aircraft in the Obama administration.
But some, mostly Democratic, lawmakers are demanding that the White House provide more of the legal documents underpinning its position that Obama can order lethal strikes overseas on U.S. citizens.
The administration insisted that only lawmakers be allowed access to the classified Justice Department papers, which means the committee's lawyers are unable to read them.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the intelligence committee's Democratic chairwoman, complained to Brennan that the committee's staff had been banned from seeing the administration's classified legal opinion.
"The reason for providing information just to committee members at times is to ensure that it is kept on a limited basis," Brennan said. "It is rather exceptional, as I think you know, that the Office of Legal Counsel opinion - or advice - would be shared directly with you."
The hearing was recessed after Brennan started speaking because of protesters, who began yelling "Torture is always wrong" and "Stop the drones."
Some of the most intense questioning of Brennan came from liberal Democrats, not the conservative Republicans who have raised the strongest objections to one of Obama's other security nominees - Chuck Hagel, his choice to lead the Pentagon.
Civil liberties groups have criticized the drone attacks as effectively a green light to assassinate Americans without due process in the courts under the U.S. Constitution.
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, expressed reservations about the drone attacks.
"Taking the fight to al Qaeda is something every member of this committee feels strongly about. It's the idea of giving any president unfettered power to kill an American without checks and balances that's so troubling," he said.
In an exchange with Wyden, Brennan defended the use of drone strikes to target Americans.
"Any American who did that should know well that they in fact are part of an enemy ... and that the United States will do anything possible to destroy that enemy and to save American lives," he said.
Police with batons and plastic shields jostled with Wade's supporters as they pushed them back from the airport, making several arrests.
This latest move likely adds to tensions in the tiny Gulf state, where there are clashes with police in many Shi'ite areas almost every day
Lavrov said Moscow would respond if its interests, or the interests of Russian citizens, were attacked.
The United States and European Union have held out the threat of further sanctions on Russia if it does not implement the Geneva agreement.
An American from Pennsylvania, a Syrian citizen and a London resident conspired to export items as a portable scanner used to detect chemical warfare agents, according to the US Justice Department
The five-member Snohomish County Council voted unanimously to table the issue of whether to impose a moratorium on construction within a half-mile of landslide hazard areas
Police officers had earlier stopped the saloon car at traffic lights and were taking the occupants for questioning when the bomb exploded, the ministry said.
Crimean Tatar leader Kirimoglu says he will return to the peninsula amid rumors he is banned
Qatar's dispute with three fellow Gulf states, which withdrew their envoys from Doha last month, is "over", the Qatari foreign minister said
Al-Shabaab has used Ayn as a launch pad for attacks on allied forces in Baldwin, capital of the south-central Hiran region.
"Efforts designed to end years of suffering have failed," declares UN
During Wednesday's session, judges heard a number of witnesses for the prosecution and adjourned the hearings to allow them to hear more witness testimony
Twelve Palestinians, including six children were injured when an Israeli aircraft fired on them in the city of Beit Lahia.
The move envisions forming a unity government within five weeks and holding national elections six months.
Carriages flipped off the track in the accident near Likasi, a mining town between Lubumbashi and Kolwezi in the copper and cobalt-rich southeast
Candido Van-Dunem, who had held the post since 2010, will be replaced by Joao Lourenco, a former secretary-general of the MPLA ruling party