Senate Intel panel puts Brennan nomination on ice until next week

White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan will have to wait a few more days before lawmakers weigh in on his bid to become the nation's top spy. 

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, has delayed the panel's vote on Brennan's nomination for CIA director until Tuesday, a Senate aide told The Hill. 

The Senate intelligence committee had been expected to vote on the nomination Thursday. 

This is the second time committee members have opted to delay a vote on Brennan's confirmation since his confirmation hearings before the panel on Feb. 7. 

Despite those delays, Brennan's nomination is still expected to clear the committee and be sent to the Senate for confirmation, according to the aide. 

After testifying twice before Feinstein's panel, once during open session and again behind closed doors, committee members had planned to take up Brennan's bid for the CIA on Feb. 14. 

However, several committee members requested that vote be postponed. 

The delay was called so the panel could gather additional information on Brennan's role in the White House's armed drone program, as well as details on his role in the administration's response to last September's terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 

The Senate aide declined to comment as to Feinstein's rationale behind the most recent postponement, but the decision coincides with a recent lawmaker review of classified documents on the Benghazi attack. 

The attack, which the Obama administration initially claimed was the result of a protest that turned violent, ended with the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. 

Weeks later, administration officials reversed course and admitted the consulate strike was a coordinated attack by Islamic extremists operating in Libya. 

The documents, according to members of the Senate intelligence panel who reviewed them, clearly show Brennan had a direct role in drafting the White House talking points on the attack, which defended the initial protest-gone-wrong scenario in Benghazi. 

“Brennan was involved,” Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said after Tuesday's briefing. “It's pretty obvious what happened.”

It remains unclear whether Brennan's involvement in cultivating those talking points will derail his chances at confirmation, once his nomination clears the Senate panel. 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has yet to back off his threat of filibustering the Brennan bid once it hits the full Senate. Paul has publicly stated that his opposition to Brennan taking over at the CIA is tied to the White House official's deep ties to the use of armed drones. 

During his time at the CIA and later in the White House, Brennan was a key player in developing administration policy on the use of armed drones against suspected terrorists — even if those suspects happen to be American citizens.