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Brennan Strongly Defends Administration Policy on Drone Strikes

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
Brennan’s hearing got off to a raucous start, as Brennan’s opening statement was interrupted repeatedly by protesters angry about U.S. drone strikes.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issues warrants for wiretaps used to collect foreign intelligence. A Department of Justice white paper that was disclosed this week on drone strikes said that “there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations.”

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked Brennan whether he would support such a court.

Brennan answered that he thought it was “certainly worthy of discussion,” and that the administration had wrestled with just such a proposal. But he said courts are not best suited for those decisions.

“Our judicial tradition is that a court of law is used to determine one’s guilt or innocence for past actions, which is very different from the decisions that are made on the battlefield, as well as actions that are taken against terrorists,” Brennan said. “The decisions that are made are to take action so that we prevent a future action, so we protect American lives. That is an inherently executive branch function to determine.”

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