This week, President Obama nominated his homeland security adviser and deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism, John Brennan, to become the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
In the coming weeks, a Senate committee will hold hearings, followed by a full Senate vote, that will likely confirm the appointment. The Senate must seize this narrow window of opportunity to publicly discuss, for the first time, the Obama administration's policy of targeted killings by drones.
Though many ordinary Americans are understandably uneasy with these secret attacks, the politicians we elect have so far subjected the program to almost no official scrutiny.
There have been more than 400 drone strikes killing more than 3,000 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia over the past decade. Yet Congress has refused to assess or even question the effectiveness, legality and sustainability of this lethal tactic, which has increasingly come to define U.S. foreign policy.