Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday threatened to hold John Brennan's nomination for CIA director unless he receives more answers on the administration’s drone program.
“I have asked Mr. Brennan if he believed that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and my question remains unanswered," Paul said in a statement. "I will not allow a vote on this nomination until Mr. Brennan openly responds to the questions and concerns my colleagues and I share.
Brennan, Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, faced a contentious confirmation hearing last week, as lawmakers pressed him on the legality of using armed drone strikes against suspected terrorists, in particular American citizens.
The increased congressional scrutiny followed the leak of a Justice Department (DOJ) memo laying out the circumstances in which the administration would authorize a deadly drone strike on a U.S. citizen.
Lawmakers, though, have demanded that the DOJ share its actual legal memos justifying the targeting of Americans abroad.
The administration attempted to defuse congressional anger by providing a private briefing to lawmakers before Brennan’s hearing. Brennan also testified that the administration only authorizes lethal force as a “last resort to save lives.”
But the briefing and Brennan’s testimony did little to satisfy lawmakers. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPhotos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (D-Vt.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinRepublicans caught in California's recall trap F-35 fighter jets may fall behind adversaries, House committee warns Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Calif.) have said they will hold more hearings on the issue.
Feinstein last week also suggested creating a federal court to oversee and approve drone strikes, but Republicans quickly rebuffed the proposal.
“I think it is a terrible idea,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Trump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses MORE (R-S.C.) told The Hill.
Over the weekend Graham also said he would put a hold on Brennan's nomination as well as former Sen. Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelAfghan interpreter who helped rescue Biden: 'If they find me, they will kill me' Afghan interpreter who helped extract Biden, other senators in 2008 asks president to save him Democrats defend Afghan withdrawal amid Taliban advance MORE (R-Neb.), Obama’s nominee for Defense secretary, until the administration provides more details about its response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.