Los Angeles Times
John Brennan to face questions on interrogations, drones and leaks
The Wall Street Journal
CIA Hearing to Shine Light on Drone Policy – More
Review and Outlook — The Wall Street Journal
King of Drones
Editorial — The Washington Post
Coming clean about drones
More from Foreign Policy’s “Situation Report“:
Brennan faces the music today. President Barack Obama’s nominee for CIA director, John Brennan, goes before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this afternoon seeking confirmation. He will be grilled on the “playbook” for hunting terrorists and the secrecy surrounding the targeting of Americans. Lawmakers will be given documents this morning that provide the legal rationale for drone strikes on Americans in an attempt to reduce concerns about his nomination.
The answers to advance questions Brennan provided [to the committee] prior to the hearing suggest that despite his reputation for being a shrewd overseer of drone operations and other forms of lethal force, he wants to refocus the CIA on conventional intelligence collection.
If confirmed, Brennan was asked, would he focus on any one mission of the agency? “I would note that collection and all-source analysis are the underpinning for nearly everything the CIA does, and so I would focus heavily from the start on these areas if I were to be confirmed,” Brennan wrote. “I would also note that the CIA will face trade-offs as budgets tighten or decline, and so I would seek to ensure CIA is investing most effectively and efficiently in innovative and powerful techniques to collect, analyze, correlate and disseminate the massive amounts of information available worldwide.”
Brennan was also asked what he thinks about the paramilitary-style approach to intelligence — an oft-heard criticism that the agency has become too focused on such operations. “The CIA, a successor to the Office of Strategic Services, has a long history of carrying out paramilitary-style intelligence activities and must continue to be able to provide the president with this option should he want to employ it to accomplish critical national security objectives,” Brennan wrote. And asked about the so-called “militarization” of the agency, Brennan wrote: “In my view, the CIA is the nation’s premier ‘intelligence’ agency and needs to remain so… the CIA should not be used, in my view, to carry out traditional military activities.”
Despite his rep, Brennan may try to re-focus the agency on traditional intelligence collection. The list of advance questions Brennan had to answer prior to the hearing suggest among other things that despite his reputation for being a shrewd overseer of drone operations and other forms of lethal force, he wants to refocus CIA on conventional intelligence collection…
Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute