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Senate panel delays CIA nominee Brennan's confirmation vote

Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination to be the Director
Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination to be the Director

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday postponed until next week a vote on the confirmation of White House aide John Brennan to be CIA director, dashing hopes of Democratic leaders who had hoped to have a vote on Thursday.

The committee's Republican vice chairman, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, said the panel expects to hold the vote on Tuesday.

No explanation for the delay was immediately available. However, the Obama administration has been at odds with members of the committee's Democratic majority over White House unwillingness to disclose some highly classified legal documents related to "targeted killings," including the use of lethal drone strikes against suspected militants.

While the administration allowed members of the intelligence committee to review copies of four such documents, it has refused to turn over what Senate officials believe are at least seven related memos.

On Wednesday, administration officials met with intelligence committee members to discuss the contents of the disputed documents. Copies of the material were not turned over to the committee, however, said a source familiar with the matter.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a key committee Democrat who had indicated earlier his preference that the vote not be held until the administration made additional disclosures, said late on Wednesday he was still not satisfied with what the White House had provided.

"Americans have a right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them, and that's what getting these documents" is about, Wyden said.

"I've made it very clear to the White House that we need those legal analyses before we vote," Wyden said. But he added: "There is certainly additional time to work this out."

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball and Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Warren Strobel, Stacey Joyce and Paul Simao)

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