President Obama has reversed course and agreed to provide the congressional intelligence committees with classified Justice Department legal advice authorizing the use of drones to kill U.S. citizens abroad, two administration officials said Wednesday evening.
The sharing of the information, which lawmakers had long sought, comes on the eve of a Senate hearing on John Brennan’s nomination to serve as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Some senators had suggested that his nomination could be blocked if the administration was not more forthcoming.
Obama made the decision Wednesday to provide members of Congress with the Office of Legal Counsel’s advice, one official said, following the leak earlier in the week of a Justice Department white paper on the use of drones. The white paper appears to have been derived from the longer legal memo or memos that the administration long resisted sharing with the oversight panels on the Hill.