Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called Thursday's hearing to recess barely a few minutes after it had started, as protesters one-by-one interrupted CIA Director-nominee John Brennan during his opening statement.

“The next time, we’re going to clear the chamber and bring people back in one by one,” Feinstein said after a third protester interrupted Brennan. “This witness is entitled to be heard, ladies and gentlemen, so please give him that opportunity.”

After a fourth protester stood up, Feinstein made good on her promise.

The demonstrators appeared to be members of the activist group Code Pink. One held a sign reading, "Brennan = Drone Killing." Another yelled out that she was protesting on behalf of mothers in countries including Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.

Within a few minutes of clearing the room, Feinstein had called the hearing back into session.

Hearings involving national security, and particularly targeted killing attacks, are regularly interrupted in this manner, although Brennan's appearance seems to have brought out far greater numbers than usual.

Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.