New U.S. Counterterrorism Guidelines Face Questions

 

 

 

 

“The president’s overall approach is that we need to do everything we can to keep Americans and America safe, as well as our allies, and we need to do it in ways that are consistent with our values and our laws,” said Carney. “And that is certainly the approach that he has taken and will continue to take.”

Since 2009, President Obama has intensified drone attacks in Pakistan, and in Yemen against an al-Qaida affiliate group, despite criticism at home and abroad.

The apparent drone strike in 2011 that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric working in Yemen for al-Qaida, refocused media attention on the use of “targeted killings.”

Carney referred reporters to statements by counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, nominated to head the CIA. Brennan has been the principal official defining legal and moral justifications for use of drones and targeted killings.

Matthew Aid, an independent intelligence analyst, says the emerging guidelines have gone through numerous revisions and are the subject of intense debate. He suggests that any exemption from the guidelines of drone strikes in Pakistan is cause for concern.

“The principal weapon that the U.S. government uses at present to locate, localize and kill terrorists is the unmanned drone,” said Aid. “So if you exempt the drones from this doctrinal document that has been put together over the span of a year by the White House and the national security establishment, basically you’re leaving out a critical component of what it is we’re doing out there.”