Obama CIA nominee testifies before Congress

John Brennan, President Barack Obama's nominee for director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, recently testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Brennan is a 25-year veteran of the agency and a critical member of the president's national security team. He is expected to have a relatively smooth confirmation process, especially in comparison to Chuck Hagel, Obama's pick for secretary of defense, according to U.S. News.

"It's fair to say that John Brennan has been instrumental in getting Obama to where his thinking is today on counter-terrorism," an anonymous former senior intelligence official said, the Guardian reports. "Brennan helped the president to understand he could not turn away from the things that need to be done against the terrorists, and then he helped construct the legal and moral framework so that they sat comfortably with the president's commitments."

Brennan made it clear he believes that so-called enhanced interrogation techniques such as water-boarding would never occur if he were in charge of the largest U.S. intelligence agency, although he never said they amount to torture.

Brennan also answered questions about drone strikes against terrorists, including American citizens. He said that drone strikes should only be used as a last resort when all other options are exhausted.

"The United States will do whatever possible to destroy that enemy to save American lives," Brennan said, U.S. News reports. "They have the ability to surrender at anytime, anywhere throughout the world."