5:55 pm: Weirdly, Senator Collins wonders whether Brennan will be Obama's representative to the CIA, or the CIA's representative to Obama. In other words, which side is he on? The CIA's side, or the president's? The answer, of course, is that the CIA director is the president's man. That said, Brennan says that he'd always bring the truth to the White House, not tell the White House what it wants to hear. (Unike George W. Bush's CIA directors, who shaped intelligence according to the desires of the White House. Thus, Iraq.)
Closing the hearing, but with a classified session scheduled for next week, Feinstein says that she'll want answers on Mali, Algeria, Libya and North Africa. Collins says she'll ask about Syria and Iran. In other words, everything that the senators didn't trouble themselves to ask today.
5:45 pm: Senator Wyden (D.-Ore.) asks whether the president should offer an American an opportunity to surrender before blowing that person to pieces. (It seems like a weird idea, but I guess he's trying to make the point that the president ought to do everything he can before ordering the extra-judicial kiling of an American.) Brennan says, well, an American who joins Al Qaeda knows that we are at war with the organization, so he's putting himself at risk. Wyden insists that we've got to see all of the legal opinions. "What it really goes to, Mr. Brennan, is the system of checks and balances." And Congressional oversight. Brennan says: "Any member of Al Qaeda … needs to know that they have the ability to surrender before we destroy that organization. And we will destroy that organization." (And Obama and Brennan get to decide, I guess, who's a member and who isn't. And then: Boom!)
5:35 pm: Another really stupid joke, this time from Senator Burr (R.-NC): "I will be brief, because I've noticed that you are on your fourth glass of water, and I don't want to be accused of waterboarding you." Yuck, yuck. Torture jokes.
5:30 pm: Once again, Brennan is asked whether the name of the courier for bin Laden was first discovered after a detainee was torrtured, i.s., subjected to "EITs." Againm Brennan defers. He says that he's read the Senate committee's report that disputes that notion, but he doesn't deny it outright. Senator Chambliss (R.-Ga.) aays that he hopes if and when Brennan does find out that the info came from a torured detainee, he'll say so. Chambliss notes that he disagreed with the Committee's report, which is strongly backed by Senators Feinstein and Levin.
5:20 pm: Dianne Feinstein makes the irrelevant point that Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a drone, was a bad guy. She says that the drone program is so public now that the American people need to understand how bad Awlaki was, even though he was an American citizen. Did he have connections with the Times Square bomb attempt, the Fort Hood shooting, the attempt to bomb an airliner, etc., she asks Brennan. So? Al Capone was a bad guy, too, but that doesnt mean that the police can assassinate him. "What people forget is that they will kill us if they can," says Feinstein. I guess her point is: We will kill them if we can. Brennan simply says that we had no alternative to blowing him up, but — like the memos that have been released — he doesn't bother to define the word "imminent," i.e., that the US had not alternative to the drone strike. But, of course, it's all Top Secret, so Brennan can't explain the facts. Whatever they are.