WASHINGTON -- Code Pink protesters disrupted the hearings on the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA on Thursday, forcing Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to vacate the room of all observers.
The protesting started even before the hearings officially began. As attendees gathered in the hearing room shortly before 2:30 p.m., protesters began yelling, "Halt the drones!" and "You are a traitor to democracy when you assassinate suspects!"
Feinstein threatened to have the Capitol police clear the room. Instead, a few protesters were escorted out of the room and the hearing proceeded.
Protests, however, picked up again about 20 minutes later. After four more disruptions from Code Pink protesters, Feinstein demanded that everyone leave the room.
"We're going to halt the hearing, I'm going to ask that the room be cleared and that the Code Pink associates not be permitted to come back in. We've done this five times now, and five times is enough," said Feinstein. "So we will recess for a few minutes."
The hearing to confirm Brennan, President Barack Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, comes at a particularly sensitive time for the White House, after the leak of a white paper laying out its legal justification for drone strikes on U.S. citizens.