Politics

              CIA Director nominee John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee  CIA Director nominee John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee'. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)   

Brennan: Drone strikes used only as a ‘last resort’ against terror targets

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

WASHINGTON — John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the new CIA director, told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that drone strikes were used only as a “last resort,” after all other avenues had been exhausted to neutralize terrorism-related targets.

“I think there is a misimpression on the part of some American people who believe that we take strikes to punish terrorists for past transgressions. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Brennan said in response to questions from Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden. “We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there’s no other alternative to taking action that’s going to mitigate that threat.” (RELATED OPINION: The Daily Caller’s guide to avoiding drone strikes)

“The people that were standing up here today,” Brennan said, referring to a group of protesters from the anbti-war group Code Pink who repeatedly interrupted the hearing at its start and were ultimately escorted out, “I think they really have a misunderstanding of what we do as a government, and the care that we take, and the agony that we go through to make sure that we do not have collateral injuries or deaths.”

“People are reacting to a lot of falsehoods that are out there, and I do see it as part of my obligation, and the obligation of the committee, to make sure the truth is known to the American public and the world,” Brennan said.

Brennan, who currently serves as Obama’s advisor on counterterrorism, said during his testimony that he favored detaining terrorists over killing them.

“I never believe it’s better to kill a terrorist than to detain them,” Brennan said, adding that detaining them has led to information-gathering that could prevent future attacks.

Follow Alexis on Twitter