Senate confirms Brennan as new CIA chief

Washington, Mar 7 (EFE).- The U.S. Senate on Thursday finally confirmed the nomination of the White House adviser on counterterrorism, John Brennan, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The 63-34 vote in the Democratic-controlled chamber allows Brennan to become the head of the agency to which he has been linked in different posts over the past 25 years.

Brennan was one of the promoters of drone attacks in countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, something that caused a delay in his confirmation when senators demanded that the White House provide more information about the legal basis for such attacks.

The confirmation came immediately after a vote to end debate on the nomination, which had been delayed by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, who mounted a 13-hour filibuster with the aim of blocking the nomination.

With a speech that went on until nearly 1 a.m. Thursday, Paul managed to raise to the forefront of public debate the fears among some that the government could give itself the authority to use drone strikes on U.S. soil.

It had been expected that the confirmation vote would be held on Saturday, but the senators decided to move it up to Thursday after Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter to Paul in which he said that President Barack Obama will not authorize drone attacks in the United States without court approval.

"It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: 'Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?' The answer to that question is no," Holder said in his missive to Paul.