WASHINGTON — John Brennan’s nomination to lead the CIA was delayed Wednesday by a one-senator filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., about concerns about the legality of drone strikes against U.S. citizens overseas.
“I’m going to speak as long as I can to draw attention to something I find very disturbing,” said Paul, who started speaking at 11:45 a.m.
It’s not a partisan issue, Paul said, noting that he voted to support the nominations of John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, the secretaries of State and Defense.
Paul and other senators had delayed a full Senate vote on Brennan’s nomination until they received more information about the drone program. The White House provided Justice Department documents on the drone program to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
The committee then voted 12-3 to approve Brennan’s nomination.
Brennan, the White House’s top counterterrorism adviser, was closely linked to the drone program. The administration has used the unmanned aircraft to regularly target suspected terrorists in the Middle East and Africa.
In 2011, U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone strike in Yemen, raising questions about the use of the armed drones on American citizens.
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had used Brennan’s nomination to air concerns about the administration’s handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consultate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
McCain and Graham said they would oppose Brennan unless they got classified documents detailing the administration’s actions immediately following the attack, the Associated Press reported.
The White House has said it provided more documents to lawmakers about that attack.
Before coming to the White House, Brennan served 25 years in the CIA.