U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today released this statement after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm John Brennan as the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA.)
"I first got to know John Brennan during President Bush's administration when he was tapped to head the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, the predecessor to today's National Counterterrorism Center, which is the hub that ensures threat information is robustly shared among federal agencies.
"In addition, I have worked closely with him over the years on many homeland security issues, particularly cybersecurity, which remains a top priority for our country to address.
"John Brennan is well-qualified to lead the CIA. I have questioned him, both publicly and privately, and I am confident that he brings solid experience in counterterrorism and intelligence to this role.
"I have pressed Mr. Brennan to increase the accountability and transparency regarding the Administration's use of drones for targeted terrorist strikes and to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens. On February 4, I was the sole Republican on the Intelligence Committee that called upon the Obama Administration to share the legal justification for targeting an American without charge or trial in the course of counterterrorism operations overseas.
"In 2009, the Obama administration released several Department of Justice legal opinions that described the legal justification for the treatment of al-Qaeda terrorists held by the U.S. government. Along with Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO), I demanded the Obama administration to be consistent and release the legal opinions related to targeted strikes to Congress for appropriate oversight on behalf of the American people. I am pleased that, as a result of our efforts, for the first time under either a Democratic or Republican President, the Administration provided Congress the legal justification for the targeting of terrorists, including Americans, overseas.
"We also insisted that Mr. Brennan respond to Senator Rand Paul's question about the targeting of Americans with the use of drones inside the United States before we would allow Mr. Brennan's nomination to proceed. This week, in separate letters, Mr. Brennan stated clearly that the CIA has no authority to target U.S. citizens in the United States and the Attorney General said the President does not have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil.
"I believe Mr. Brennan will be an effective leader of the dedicated men and women of the CIA deserve, and I look forward to working with him in this new role."