President Barack Obama’s pick for CIA director, John Brennan, promised senators who will vote on his nomination more openness about U.S. counter-terrorism programs, saying the closely guarded number of civilian casualties from drone strikes should be made public, according to his written responses to questions released on Friday.
Brennan was questioned sharply by Democrats and Republicans alike during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination last week.
Along with harsh interrogation techniques, Brennan was questioned about drone strikes against terrorism suspects in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere. These strikes have increased under Obama and included the killing in Yemen of a U.S.-born cleric suspected of ties to al Qaeda and his U.S.-born son.
The U.S. government, without releasing numbers, has sought to portray civilian deaths from these strikes as minimal. But other organizations which collect data on these attacks put the number of civilians killed in the hundreds.