Congress gets Obama data on use of drones

by Susan Crabtree-The Washington Times  |  published on February 7, 2013

With the fate of his pick to head the CIA in danger, President Obama reversed course Wednesday night and released to Congress the classified legal advice that the Justice Department has given the White House on using drones to execute American citizens in the war on terrorism.

The about-face came less than a day before John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s homeland security adviser and his pick to be CIA director, was to face a Senate confirmation hearing, and hours after Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, threatened to hold up the appointment unless more information was forthcoming.

A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Obama would send lawmakers the classified rationales as part of his “commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters.”

The official added Wednesday evening that Mr. Obama had directed the Justice Department to provide the Senate and House intelligence committees with the classified advice from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Senate Democrats huddled with Mr. Obama in Annapolis on Wednesday to talk about the year’s agenda.

Outside of the retreat, Mr. Wyden threatened to “pull out all the stops” in his effort to get access to the legal analysis, including delaying Mr. Brennan’s nomination.

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