The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday approved US President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the CIA, DPA reported.
John Brennan received a 12-3 vote in the committee and now must be confirmed by the entire Senate, where he could face more opposition from Republican lawmakers. A vote in the full Senate hasn't been scheduled.
Brennan's nomination had been held up as senators from both parties demanded more information from the Obama administration over its drone programme and about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya last year.
Brennan, 57, is Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor and architect of the drone strategy. He spent 25 years in the CIA before becoming the first director of the National Counterterrorism Centre in 2004.
He was in the running in 2009 for the CIA post, but he stepped back amid charges that he had tolerated the torture tactics and black CIA-operated prisons that became so infamous under the Bush administration.