(USA TODAY) - The White House is looking to help out CIA nominee John Brennan by showing lawmakers classified information on drone strikes against Americans working with alleged al Qaeda terrorists overseas.
President Obama has directed the Justice Department to provide the Senate and House intelligence committees with Office of Legal Counsel advice related to the administration's drone policy.
The release comes hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee holds confirmation hearings Thursday for Brennan, whom Obama has nominated for CIA director.
Brennan, the White House counter-terrorism adviser the past four years, has helped manage the drone program, and news about strikes has dominated the run-up to his hearing.
From the Associated Press:
"An unclassified memo leaked this week says it is legal for the government to kill U.S. citizens abroad if it believes they are senior al-Qaeda leaders continually engaged in operations aimed at killing Americans, even if there is no evidence of a specific imminent attack. ...
"Brennan laid out the administration's policy for targeting al-Qaeda with lethal drone strikes ahead of the hearing, defending the use of such strikes but disavowing the harsh interrogation techniques used when he was at the CIA.
"In answers to pre-hearing questions released Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan said no further legislation was necessary to conduct operations against al-Qaeda wherever it's operating."