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Thursday, February 7, 2013

White House Secret War Under Spotlight

President Barack Obama's choice for new CIA Director, current Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan, walks the hallways of the Hart Senate Office building on Capitol Hill as he arrives for a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

President Barack Obama’s choice for new CIA Director, current Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan, walks the hallways of the Hart Senate Office building on Capitol Hill as he arrives for a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Senators have a chance to air long pent-up questions Thursday about the Obama administration’s secret war on al-Qaida at the confirmation hearing for John Brennan, the President’s longtime counter-terrorism advisor and now nominee to head the CIA.

Brennan has managed the drone program, which has targeted both foreign terrorists and U.S. citizens overseas, suspected by the White House of engaging in terrorist activities.

Lawmakers from both parties have been pressing the White House for internal legal papers justifying the drone war under U.S. law, especially the targeted assassination of U.S. citizens.

The President reversed course yesterday, agreeing to release some classified White House legal papers to House and Senate Intelligence committees ahead of the Brennan hearing.

Brennan was also a top official at the CIA during the Bush administration, and present at meetings on so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

He’s said that he was, “aware of the program but did not play a role in its creation, execution or oversight.”

He is sure to face questions about what he was doing at that time and what role he sees for those techniques in the war on al-Qaida.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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