In a rare move, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon on Wednesday publicly defended the United States' use of armed drones in the counter-terrorism fight, calling it a "targeted effort."
Donilon addressed their controversial deployment after a student asked him about their use while he was speaking at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
He said they are only used against groups and individuals who pose the most serious threats against the United States.
"We are using all of the tools," available to fight al Qaeda and one of those is the drones, Donilon said.
Donilon did not use the word drones in his answer. He called them UAVs– unarmed aerial vehicles - and said the U.S. is in "full compliance" with domestic and international law.