Today from Hiiraan Online:
Ads By Google
White House Responds to Report on Obama's Role in Targeted Killings
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
by Dan Robinson
An undated U.S. Air Force image shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft.
Ads By Google
The White House responded Tuesday to a major U.S. newspaper report about President Barack Obama's role in the U.S. war against al-Qaida, including decisions to place suspected terrorists on a list of people to be killed.
In a report published Tuesday, The New York Times newspaper said that since he came to office, Mr. Obama has assumed an unprecedented role in personally overseeing a "shadow war" against al-Qaida, including making final decisions whether to place individuals on a "kill list."
The newspaper cited dozens of current and former U.S. officials and Obama administration advisers who were interviewed for the report, who confirmed the existence of the list of al-Qaida suspects who can be targeted for attack by unmanned aircraft.
President Obama significantly increased the use of drones to strike terrorist targets in Pakistan. Use of the aircraft also has increased in Yemen, where the United States has directed military support to help the government fight al-Qaida-backed forces.
The New York Times report said Mr. Obama personally approves drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, and decides whether to attack a terror suspect when the suspect's family is present.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Obama has made clear the United States will take whatever steps are necessary to protect Americans, but act in a manner that is "lawful and consistent" with U.S. values.
Carney was asked about a specific aspect of the report, involving what The New York Times said was a method that counts all men of military age in a strike zone as militants, unless there is intelligence to the contrary.
“This president's first priority is the protection of the United States, the protection of the citizens of this country," said Carney. "And he takes that responsibility enormously seriously, and that is why he has pursued the fight against al-Qaida in the very direct way that he has. He also believes very strongly in the need to avoid civilian casualties in the pursuit of that objective."
Carney directed reporters several times to a speech earlier this year by John Brennan, President Obama's counter-terrorism adviser, focusing U.S. efforts to avoid civilian casualties.
The president's spokesman said the United States is able to pursue al-Qaida in a way that "significantly reduces the potential for and the fact of" civilian casualties. However, Carney declined to go into the specifics of the process by which decisions are made.
Carney was also pressed about the legal justification for the existence of the "kill list" described by The New York Times, and was asked about secrecy regarding the matter.
He said Mr. Obama's "capacity" to go after members of al-Qaida was well-established in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by the U.S. Congress after the 2001 al-Qaida attacks on the United States.
The United States, Carney said, has held itself to the highest possible standards as to the execution of counterterrorism operations, while using tools to avoid civilian casualties.
Security: Police link suspected German-Turkish extremist to Nairobi blast
NUSOJ demands a stop to use of Repressive Media Law
Four Kenyan policemen wounded on border with Somalia
Special Report: In Africa, a militant group's growing appeal
Roadside bomb in Somalia's Puntland kills 6
Somali Islamist bastion to fall ‘by August'
Turkish FM: “Turkey has fulfilled all promises made to Somalia”
- Turkish Press
Somalia discusses its future in Istanbul
- Hurriyet Daily News
Seeing the majesty in Somalia's history
Young Somali immigrant is helping Edmonton youth build brighter futures.
- Edmonton Sun
Somali President escapes rebel ambush on convoy
Fertliser bomb suspected in Nairobi blast
Kenyan police seek two foreign suspects for city blast
Kenyan Ships Shell al-Shabab Controlled Kismayo
Pirates make phone threats to hostages' families as ransom unpaid
- The National
Court to decide whether to release mosque firebomb suspect
UNHCR ready to assist newly displaced in Mogadishu
All Rights Reserved Copyright. © 1999-2020, www.hiiraan.com