Protesters at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) shut down a talk by CIA Director John Brennan Friday evening.
Three separate groups of protesters heckled Brennan about 15 minutes into the moderated discussion until UPenn professor Marjorie Margolies decided the event was no longer productive and brought it to a close, The Hill reports.
Once the first protester started, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported UPenn Law School Dean Theodore Ruger took to the stage to reiterate the university’s freedom of expression policy. He was shouted down.
While Brennan was supported by two standing ovations, support from the audience didn’t appear to be enough to combat the protesters, who carried on making noise for eight minutes.
“Drones kill kids,” one protester screamed.
Another protester yelled, “U.S. out of the Middle East.”
“The CIA is a terrorist group. Human torture is a crime,” said a woman.
Protesters from Students of a Democratic Society (SDS) were present at the event., and some of them handed out pamphlets alleging the CIA is the “most destructive terrorist organization in the world today.”
“I don’t think there’s any reason to allow speech that supports apartheid, that supports literal genocide…” SDS member Daniel Pitt told the Daily Pennsylvanian.
In response to the hysteria, Brennan calmly discussed drone policy and remarked that the Obama administration’s criteria for their use is “rigorous” and added, “I know there are a lot of reports about hundreds upon thousands of innocents who have been killed as a result of these strikes.”
“I can tell you with great confidence that those are exceptionally exaggerated reports… the number of civilians killed relative to the number of terrorists killed is a very small portion,” Brennan said.
Brennan cracked a few jokes, talked about the impact of Edward Snowden on the intelligence scene and also noted how the media poorly portrays activities inside the CIA.
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