Protest against US drone war disrupts Senate hearing

Protesters denouncing US drone attacks disrupted a US Senate hearing Thursday on the nomination for the next CIA director, forcing police to escort demonstrators from the hall.

"Stand up against drones" yelled a protester as President Barack Obama's pick to lead the CIA, John Brennan, was repeatedly interrupted as he tried to deliver his opening remarks to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

After five instances of protesters disrupting proceedings, the chairman of the panel, Dianne Feinstein, ordered police to clear the room and to bar the return of protesters from the anti-war "Code Pink" activist group.

Brennan is widely seen as the architect of the large-scale covert drone war against Al-Qaeda, which Obama and his aides have declined to discuss openly.

One demonstrator held up a hand-made sign that read: "Brennan = drone killing." Another shouted at Senator Feinstein: "Are your children more important than the children of Pakistan?"

The "targeted killings" against suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere have been condemned by human rights groups as an illegal clandestine war.

But most lawmakers support the campaign as an effective way to counter Al-Qaeda extremists without deploying troops on major military operations.