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5 Crucial Questions Senators Failed to Ask During Brennan Hearings

The Senate Intelligence Committee completely skirted the questions that the American people need answered.

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5. Don't you see a problem with “signature strikes?”

Committee members failed to ask why the Obama administration should have the power to kill people under the doctrine of “signature strikes.” As the New York Times puts it:

Originally that term was used to suggest the specific ‘signature’ of a known high-level terrorist, such as his vehicle parked at a meeting place. But the word evolved to mean the “signature” of militants in general — for instance, young men toting arms in an area controlled by extremist groups.

In other words, Obama can order drone strikes on people who look suspicious in the wrong place at the wrong time. As The Nation’s George Zornick points out, the “vast majority” of drone targets aren’t senior-ranking Al Qaeda terrorists, but “low-level militants.”

Of course, this list could go on. As Brennan gets inevitably sworn in, Americans should keep these questions on their minds, and lawmakers need to make sure the new CIA Director is at least held accountable to the few answers they got from him yesterday.

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.