2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, President Barack Obama, Supports The Use Of Drones To Kill American Citizens

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2274996/Obama-orders-release-Congress-memo-showing-BACKS-drone-attacks-American-born-terrorists.html#axzz2KEGCr6va

Obama orders the release to Congress of a memo showing he BACKS drone attacks on American-born terrorists

By Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 08:31 EST, 7 February 2013 | UPDATED: 10:09 EST, 7 February 2013

Obama directed the Justice Department to provide access to the secret document to members of the Senate and House intelligence committees, opening the tight circle of politicians who know the inner-workings of the secretive program.

An unclassified memo leaked this week says it is legal for the government to kill U.S. citizens abroad if it believes they are senior al Qaeda leaders continually engaged in operations aimed at killing Americans, even if there is no evidence of a specific imminent attack.

That unclassified memo is based on classified advice from the Office of Legal Counsel that is being made available to the intelligence committees’ members, the official said.

Under scrutiny: Aides have portrayed John Brennan as cautious in the use of drones, restraining others at the CIA or military who would use them more oftenUnder scrutiny: Aides have portrayed John Brennan as cautious in the use of drones, restraining others at the CIA or military who would use them more often

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who heads the committee leading the hearing, said the legal memo would be provided to her committee by Thursday morning.

The decision to share information with the Senate and House intelligence committees comes just hours before they will grill President Barack Obama’s choice to head the CIA in his confirmation hearing.

John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief and Obama’s nominee to run the nation’s spy agency, helped manage the drone program, making the news even more closely tied to his confirmation.

The hearing Thursday sets the stage for a public airing of some of the most controversial programs in the covert war on al Qaeda, from the deadly drone strikes to the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques like waterboarding during President George W. Bush’s administration.

Brennan laid out the administration’s policy for targeting al Qaeda with lethal drone strikes ahead of the hearing, defending the use of such strikes but disavowing the harsh interrogation techniques used when he was at the CIA.

In answers to pre-hearing questions released Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan said no further legislation was necessary to conduct operations against al Qaeda wherever it’s operating.

More common: Fewer than 50 strikes took place during the Bush administration while more than 360 strikes have been launched under ObamaMore common: Fewer than 50 strikes took place during the Bush administration while more than 360 strikes have been launched under Obama

Brennan answered some of his critics who charged him with backing the detention and interrogation policy while he served at the CIA. Those allegations stymied his attempt to head the intelligence agency when the Obama administration began in 2009.

Brennan said in his written answers that he was ‘aware of the program but did not play a role in its creation, execution, or oversight.’

He added that he ‘had significant concerns and personal objections’ to the interrogation techniques and voiced those objections to colleagues at the agency privately.

Targets: Strikes are carried out in Yemen, where three American citizens with al Qaeda connections have been killed including Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured in 2008)Targets: Strikes are carried out in Yemen, where three American citizens with al Qaeda connections have been killed including Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured in 2008)

Brennan went on to describe how individuals are targeted for drone strikes, saying whether a suspect is deemed an imminent threat – and therefore appropriate for targeting – is made ‘on a case-by-case basis through a coordinated interagency process’ involving intelligence, military, diplomatic and other agencies.

Human rights and civil liberties groups have decried the methods for targeting terror suspects, especially U.S. citizens.

Brennan defended the missile strikes by unmanned Predator or Reaper drones as a more humane form of war, but he acknowledged ‘instances when, regrettably and despite our best efforts, civilians have been killed.’

‘It is exceedingly rare, and much rarer than many allege,’ he added.

Aides have portrayed Brennan as cautious in the use of drones, restraining others at the CIA or military who would use them more often, even though as the White House’s counterterror adviser, he has presided over an explosion of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Fewer than 50 strikes took place during the Bush administration while more than 360 strikes have been launched under Obama, according to the website The Long War Journal, which tracks the operations.

Administration officials say Brennan would further limit the use of drones by the CIA and leave the majority of strikes to the military.

Brennan signaled in his written answers that he would not seek to expand the CIA’s paramilitary operations.

Time to talk: The hearing on Thursday will be lead by Senator Dianne Feinstein (right) and Brennan (left) will have to answer some legal questions about the use of drones Time to talk: The hearing on Thursday will be lead by Senator Dianne Feinstein (right) and Brennan (left) will have to answer some legal questions about the use of drones

‘While the CIA needs to maintain a paramilitary capability … the CIA should not be used, in my view, to carry out traditional military activities,’ Brennan wrote, referring to activities like the special operations raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The CIA’s drone strikes primarily focus on al Qaeda and Taliban targets in the tribal regions of Pakistan, while the military has launched strikes against al Qaeda targets in Yemen and Somalia.

The agency also carries out strikes in Yemen, where three American citizens with al Qaeda connections have been killed: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old-son and Samir Khan.

Brennan said he would work to improve the CIA’s intelligence collection and performance across the Arab world after a spate of unanticipated unrest, from the revolts of the Arab Spring to the terror attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Advertisements

Posted on February 7, 2013, in Politics, US Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: