Brennan Hearing Much Smoother Than Hagel's

Obama adviser outlines how CIA would be different under his watch.

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Much of the rest of the hearing revolved around Brennan's involvement in intelligence leaks, which he wholly denied. Idaho Republican Sen. James Risch dedicated all of his 8 minutes of questioning to a reported Yemeni underwear bomb plot. Reuters learned of a teleconference Brennan conducted with other counter-terrorism advisers to discuss the plot, which Brennan stresses never posed actual danger to American citizens.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. John Rockefeller issued high praise toward the end of the hearing.

"I do not recall anybody who was more forthright, more direct, more accommodating, without violating who you are," he said. "I think you're the guy for the job, and the only guy for the job."

Maine Democratic Sen. Susan Collins expressed concern about Brennan's history with the Obama administration, and asked whether he would be the White House's representative to the CIA, or the CIA's representative to the White House. "The CIA would get a John Brennan who is neither a Democrat or a Republican, or even has been," he said. His role would be "not to tell the president, not to tell the committee what it wants to hear, but to tell the policymakers, the congressional overseers, what it needs to hear," he added.

The committee will conduct a closed-door hearing with Brennan early next week.