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John Brennan: CIA Wouldn't Keep Congress 'In The Dark'

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WASHINGTON -- John Brennan told members of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that he wouldn't keep them "in the dark" if he's confirmed as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Brennan acknowledged that some of the government's counterterrorism policies had "sparked widespread debate, domestically and internationally." Brennan said he has "strongly promoted" public discussion on the "legal basis as well as the thresholds, criteria, processes, procedures, approvals, and reviews of such actions."

While Brennan said he would cooperate with the committee if he is confirmed, that wouldn't mean the CIA and members of the Intelligence Committee would agree.

"I know that irrespective of the fullness of the fullness of that dialogue, there will be occasions when we disagree, just as you disagree among yourselves at times on aspects of past, current, and future activities of the CIA," Brennan said. "Such disagreement is healthy and is a necessary part of our democratic process. But such disagreement should never prevent us from carrying out our national security and intelligence responsibilities."

One such disagreement was on display at the hearing. President Barack Obama ordered the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to provide members of Congress the legal memo laying out the rationale for the targeted killing of suspected terrorists. But Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the committee, revealed that the government would not allow the committee's staff lawyers to review the memo for themselves.

Brennan said he wouldn't tolerate a "trust deficit" between the CIA and the committee. "I have a reputation for speaking my mind and, at times, doing so in a rather direct manner, which some attribute to my New Jersey roots," Brennan said.

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