Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said this morning that the administration’s use of drones — and perceived failure to tell Congress the whole story about the program — “could be a roadblock to confirmation” for CIA director nominee John Brennan.
“There was concern on both sides of the aisle is the failure to give the intelligence committee the documents we need to do our work which is vigorous oversight,” Wyden told CNN this morning.
Brennan testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, where Wyden used his allotted eight minutes to ask President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser about the program.
“Every American has the right to know when their government believes it’s allowed to kill them. And to really make an evaluation on that issue, we need to see the full legal analysis,” Wyden said. “Now, what I read before the hearing certainly was a step in the right direction and I want to commend the president for certainly changing course and making additional material available, but to do our job, which is part of the checks and balances that makes our system of government so special, we need the full legal analysis.”
“…We have to understand that in our system of checks and balances, the president is given enormous sway in the area of national security and particularly to protect our country in dangerous times like this, but it is not unfettered power.”
Wyden stressed on MSNBC that the committee would “need to have that full legal analysis before the vote.”
Obama called Wyden on Wednesday, the night before the hearing, to try to tamp down opposition from his own party to his nominee over the controversial drone strikes.
“He said he was going to begin an extensive discussion with the American people on these issues to look at fleshing out how to bring the public into the discussion of the guidelines with respect to modern warfare, where we can both protect our nation and be true to our principles and our checks and balances,” the senator said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has threatened to block Brennan’s confirmation in the full Senate if the CIA keeps stonewalling lawmakers on documents related to the Benghazi consulate attack. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) reiterated that threat to Brennan yesterday.