President Obama is tearing the shroud of secrecy off his once hush-hush death-by-drone program. From his interview with Ben Swann, host of Fox 19’s Reality Check, to his sit-down with CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin, the kill-list compiler-in-chief is gradually exposing details of the principles he purportedly follows before targeting someone for assassination.
The president may assume that there is little reason to try hiding something that is being publicized daily — except in the mainstream media. In fairness, the New York Times has done fine work chronicling the expansion of the use of drones, as well as their involvement in the killing of innocents overseas caught in the blast zone of missiles aimed at alleged militants.
An exception to the official policy of silence on the matter of the death-by-drone program being carried out by the White House and the CIA was made earlier this year. In April the White House’s top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, admitted for the first time publicly to the government’s significant reliance on drones in prosecuting the War on Terror. Brennan said that the remote control killing of suspects on foreign soil who have been charged with no crime whatsoever, is “in full accordance with the law."
Brennan also said the United States “respects national sovereignty and international law.”
Speaking with Margaret Sanger at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Brennan defended the president’s drone program. "So long as AQAP [al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] seeks to implement its murderous agenda, we will be a close partner with Yemen in meeting this common threat," he said.
Later in the interview, Brennan said that the president deploys drones to target only “militants” with designs on attacking the United States or its allies abroad. He admitted that American intelligence agents provide tactical support to Yemeni armed forces battling al-Qaeda on the ground.
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