WASHINGTON — Twenty minutes into a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the confirmation of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, committee chair Dianne Feinstein cleared the public from the hearing room after protesters repeatedly interrupted the hearing.
A protester interrupted Brennan almost immediately after he began his opening testimony, shouting about drones.
“We welcome everyone here, but we expect no clapping, we expect no hissing, we expect no demonstration,” Feinstein said, as the protester was escorted out. “This is a very serious hearing.”
Another protester stood up approximately thirty minutes later; Feinstein said that if protesters did not remain silent, she would stop the hearing and clear the public out of the room.
Another protester stood up immediately; Feinstein said that if one more protester interrupted the hearing, she would make good on her threat to clear the room.
It took only seconds for someone to take her up on that, and Feinstein had the public removed from the hearing room, leaving only the press, staffers and Brennan.
Most of the protesters appeared to belong to Code Pink, an anti-war group. They seemed primarily concerned with drone strikes, which Brennan oversaw as President Barack Obama’s senior counterterrorism advisor
Brennan is also under scrutiny for recently revealed Justice Department memos which justified the killing of American citizens whom the government consider terrorists.