WASHINGTON -- John Brennan, President Barack Obama's nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, didn't officially acknowledge the CIA's role in the use of drones in the targeted killing of suspected terrorists overseas during his testimony last week, a Justice Department lawyer contended in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit this week.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the CIA for information on its drone program, didn't identify any statement "in which Mr. Brennan allegedly confirms purported CIA involvement in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for 'targeted killing,'" DOJ attorney Sharon Swingle wrote in a filing in the CIA FOIA case on Wednesday. "Rather, plaintiffs cite instances in which members of Congress mentioned 'targeted killing,' and general discussions of 'targeted killing' that do not address the involvement of any particular agency."
Likewise, the government contended that Rep. Mike Rogers' (R-Mich.) statements on "Face The Nation" don't count as "official disclosure by the CIA" of the "targeted killing" program.
When Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned Brennan last week about the role of a CIA director in drone strikes, Brennan mentioned the importance of protecting "certain covert action activities" and proceeded to "talk generally about the counterterrorism program and the role of CIA."
The Justice Department has yet to disclose seven Office of Legal Counsel memos that lay out the legal justification for targeted killings. Senators have delayed the vote on Brennan's confirmation because the memos haven't been disclosed.
President Barack Obama promised more transparency on drones during his State of the Union address this week.