John Brennan’s confirmation hearing for CIA chief was temporarily halted on Thursday after protesters persistently interrupted the proceedings.
Brennan was answering questions before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of his confirmation hearing.
Code Pink Protesters holding ‘Stop CIA Murder’ began yelling during the opening of Brennan’s hearing. “Your drone policies are resulting in the deaths of children,” one protester shouted.
Several were removed before Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein ordered that the hearing take a recess, it was continued a few minutes later.
The hearing comes days after a leaked Justice Department document showed the legal rationale for the killing of an American citizen who had joined Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Brennan, who acted as the President’s top White House counterterrorism adviser in his previous role, faced sharp questions on topics such as drone attacks to his role in the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation program.
In a statement delivered before he answered questions, Brennan promised he would be candid and blunt and give lawmakers, in his words, "straight answers from me, maybe not always ones you will like."
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."
As CIA director, Brennan will report to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, CNN reports.
The Irish American whose parents are from Roscommon said the post would be "the greatest honor of my professional life.”
Brennan faced harsh criticism this week over his input into Bush-era interrogation tactics and drone attacks.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended the President’s nominee.
"The president believes that John Brennan is uniquely qualified as a 25-year veteran of intelligence work, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, to lead that agency," Carney said. "Mr. Brennan brings, I think, not only a vast amount of experience, but a significant perspective on the battles that we wage in this effort and the right way to conduct them."
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