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The US Senate voted Thursday to proceed with the nomination of John Brennan to be President Barack Obama's next director of the CIA, setting up his almost certain confirmation.
The Senate voted 81-16, with Republicans flocking to approve Brennan after a dramatic 13-hour filibuster the night before by Republican Rand Paul over the Obama administration's refusal to unequivocally rule out drone strikes to conduct targeted killings on US soil.
Paul was among more than 20 Republicans who backed Brennan, the architect of the controversial drone "targeted killing" policy that has seen several terror targets, including Al-Qaeda operatives, killed in countries like Pakistan and Yemen.
Paul had held up the nomination, seeking clarification from the White House about whether it was US policy to allow the killing by a drone strike of a "non-combatant American citizen on US soil."
He got his answer on Thursday, when US Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to the Kentucky lawmaker to say that it was not.