(WASHINGTON) — The White House on Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to working with Congress on the legal issues surrounding the targeted killing of suspected terrorists, including American citizens, as pressure from Capitol Hill mounts.
“The president has been and is committed to working with Congress on these matters and to providing information to Congress, and that process continues,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
“When it comes to some of these matters, the information that is held — is kept secret — is kept secret for national security reasons, not to keep it from the American people but to keep it from those who plot daily and continually to do harm to the United States and do harm to the American people. That is the premise behind which decisions like that are made,” he added.
Lawmakers are threatening to block President Obama’s nominee to take over the CIA, John Brennan, in an effort to gain access to information about the administration’s legal authority to kill American citizens in counterterrorism operations.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., reportedly said Wednesday that he is prepared to “pull out all the stops” in an attempt to get further information.
Brennan will likely be grilled on the subject of targeted killings of suspected terrorists at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
“Mr. Brennan brings, I think, not only a vast amount of experience, but a significant perspective on the battles that we wage in this effort and the right way to conduct them. So the president believes that the Senate should and will confirm John Brennan expeditiously,” Carney said.
The hearing comes just days after a newly disclosed document revealed that administration lawyers found it lawful to kill an American citizen if a “high-level” government official believes the target is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda who poses “an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States” and if capture is not feasible.
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