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— President Barack Obama's choice to head the CIA faces a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing just hours after lawmakers are expected to receive a classified report providing the rationale for drone strikes targeting Americans working with al-Qaida overseas.

John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief and Obama's nominee to run the nation's spy agency, helped manage the drone program. The confirmation hearing Thursday sets the stage for a public airing of some of the most controversial programs in the covert war on al-Qaida, from the deadly drone strikes to the CIA's use of interrogation techniques like waterboarding during President George W. Bush's administration.

Obama directed the Justice Department to provide access to the secret document to members of the Senate and House intelligence committees, an administration official said Wednesday. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the Senate committee's chairman, said the legal opinion would be provided to her committee by Thursday morning.

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