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Senators: Question Brennan and Other Admin Nominees on Drone Policy!
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 7 January 2013 - 5:22pm
President Obama has announced his new national security team: Chuck Hagel at Defense, John Kerry at State, John Brennan at the CIA. Each of these officials will have a say in whether U.S. drone strike policy will be further entrenched than it is today, or whether U.S. drone strike policy will become more transparent and accountable, and be brought into full compliance with U.S. and international law.
Each of these nominees must face a confirmation hearing in the Senate. When the President's nominees appear before the Senate, they should answer questions from Senators about current drone strike policy, and that should happen in open session, so the questions and answers can be reported in the media, and the public can exercise its right to know.
Sign our petition to the President and the Senate here:
In an editorial, the Washington Post called for the CIA's removal from the drone strike program.  Human Rights Watch has been calling for the CIA to be removed from the drone strike program for a year, noting that the CIA is less transparent than the U.S. military and less accountable to U.S. and international law, and that there is no program to compensate civilian victims of CIA paramilitary actions. 
The Post has also reported that the Administration has made moves to institutionalize the current program, suggesting the program could be at its midpoint—in other words, the program could go on for another ten years. 
But the Post has also reported that Brennan, the Administration's pick to lead the CIA, has led efforts in the Administration to curtail the CIA's role in drone strikes over opposition from the CIA.  This is an opening for Senators to press for a significant change in policy that could help save the lives of civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Senators should press Brennan in open session to get the CIA out of drone strikes.
Osama bin Laden is dead, but the drone strike policy is very much alive, and until now there has been almost no public Congressional debate. We're at a fork in the road. If the President and Congress miss this opportunity to reform current drone strike policy, the status quo will get further entrenched. Urge the President and Congress to use the Senate hearings on the leadership transition to make U.S. drone strike policy more transparent and accountable.
Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,
Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy
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1. "Pulling the U.S. drone war out of the shadows," Editorial, Washington Post, November 1, 2012, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-11-01/opinions/35503416_1_drone-attacks-drone-strikes-qaeda
2. "US: End CIA Drone Attacks," Human Rights Watch, December 19, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/19/us-end-cia-drone-attacks; "US: Transfer CIA Drone Strikes to Military," Human Rights Watch, April 20, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/04/20/us-transfer-cia-drone-strikes-military
3. "Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists," Greg Miller, Washington Post, October 23, 2012, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-10-23/world/35500278_1_drone-campaign-obama-administration-matrix
4. "A CIA veteran transforms U.S. counterterrorism policy," Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, October 24, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-10-24/world/35499428_1_drone-strikes-brennan-obama-administration