Printed on: February 08, 2013

Brennan defends drone strikes

By Kimberly Dozier
AP Intelligence Writer

WASHINGTON -- CIA Director-designate John Brennan strongly defended anti-terror attacks by unmanned drones Thursday under close questioning at a protest-disrupted confirmation hearing. On a second controversial topic, he said that after years of reading classified intelligence reports, he still does not know if waterboarding has yielded useful information.

Despite what he called a public misimpression, Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee that drone strikes are used only against targets planning to carry out attacks to hurt the United States, never as retribution for an earlier one. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he declared.

Referring to one American citizen killed by a drone in Yemen in 2011, he said the man, Anwar al-Alawki, had ties to at least three attacks planned or carried out on U.S. soil. They included the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting that claimed 13 lives in 2009, a failed attempt to down a Detroit-bound airliner the same year and a thwarted plot to bomb cargo planes in 2010.