April 30th, 2012
04:10 PM ET

Obama administration: Yes, we use drones

By Suzanne Kelly

The Obama administration publicly justified its use of unmanned drones to target suspected terrorists overseas for the first time Monday, with a top official saying the strikes are conducted "in full accordance with the law."

John Brennan, President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser said strikes are used when the option of capture is not feasible. Brennan discussed the strikes during a Monday address at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think-tank.

"President Obama said here five years ago, if another nation cannot or will not take action, we will," Brennan said. "And it is an unfortunate fact that to save many innocent lives we are sometimes obliged to take lives - the lives of terrorists who seek to murder our fellow citizens."

The program utilizes unmanned aerial vehicles, often equipped with Hellfire missiles, to target al Qaeda operatives in remote locations overseas - often on the territory of U.S. allies such as Pakistan and Yemen. Brennan said the United States "respects national sovereignty and international law" and is guided by the laws of war in ordering those attacks.

But the attacks have drawn repeated condemnations from Pakistan, which says the strikes have killed numerous civilians. A drone strike hit a high school in the country's northwestern tribal region where intelligence officials said Islamic militants were hiding Sunday, bringing a fresh denunciation from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

And domestic critics insist that the program isn't legal, and they remain concerned about the targeted killing of Americans like accused al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who died in a drone strike in Yemen in September.

"Mr. Brennan supplies legal conclusions, not legal analysis," said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "We continue to believe that the administration should release the Justice Department memos underlying the program - particularly the memo that authorizes the extrajudicial killing of American terrorism suspects. And the administration should release the evidence it relied on to conclude that an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, could be killed without charge, trial, or judicial process of any kind."

And a woman stood up in the middle of Brennan's speech to protest the use of the drone strikes. She was carried out by security.

Brennan's remarks are the Obama administration's most candid and open confirmation of the program to date. Attorney General Eric Holder defended the killing of al-Awlaki in March, saying the United States had the right to use "technologically advanced weapons" against terrorists, and Brennan said the top lawyers for the Pentagon, State Department and CIA have laid out the legal basis for the attacks.

"When considering lethal force, we are of course mindful that there are important checks on our ability to act unilaterally in foreign territories," he said. "We do not use force whenever we want, wherever we want. International legal principles, including respect for a state's sovereignty and the laws of war, impose constraints. The United States of America respects national sovereignty and international law."

Brennan said people are targeted if they are believed to pose a significant threat to the United States or its overseas interests. The targets are usually people holding high-ranking positions within al Qaeda, or who possess critical skills that help enable the terrorist organization to carry out attacks, and there is no feasible chance to capture them.

Arguments in favor of the method include the fact that no U.S. troops are put at risk, and that the precision targeting capabilities enable for the careful avoidance of civilian deaths. Brennan acknowledged that innocent civilians are killed sometimes, and the administration conducts a full review of the operation when that happens.

But he did not address the issue of backlash from al Qaeda or other organizations. In 2009, a CIA base in Afghanistan was targeted by a suicide bomber who posed as a double agent and killed seven CIA Officers along with a Jordanian intelligence official. A Taliban commander claimed that the attack was in retaliation for a drone strike.

And he said the program is now spreading beyond the United States, saying that other countries have the technology - casting light for the first time on the administration's concerns about the possibility that other countries using this technology against the United States.

"President Obama and those of us on his national security team are very mindful that as our nation uses this technology, we are establishing precedents that other nations may follow," he said. "And not all of them will be nations that share our interests or the premium we put on protecting human life, including innocent civilians."

Brennan also revealed that there are disagreements over use of the program within the administration - but he added that the nation is at war.

"If anyone in government who works in this area tells you they haven't struggled with this, then they haven't spent much time thinking about it. I know I have, and I will continue to struggle with it as long as I remain involved in counterterrorism."

soundoff (959 Responses)
  1. korean bbq near me


    June 12, 2021 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  2. laundromat near me


    June 12, 2021 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  3. dinner near me

    When I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!


    June 12, 2021 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  4. Sprinter Van Repair Los Angeles

    I really love your blog.. Great colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as Iím wanting to create my very own website and want to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Cheers!


    June 12, 2021 at 8:03 am | Reply
  5. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 12, 2021 at 8:00 am | Reply
  6. RV Remodel Orange County


    June 12, 2021 at 7:21 am | Reply
  7. Luxury Repair


    June 12, 2021 at 7:21 am | Reply
  8. rv repair places near me


    June 12, 2021 at 6:46 am | Reply
  9. rv restoration companies

    You've made some good points there. I checked on the internet to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    June 11, 2021 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  10. Best Diesel Sprinter Repair Service


    June 11, 2021 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  11. home

    Quality posts is the important to invite the viewers to pay a
    quick visit the site, that's what this web page is providing.

    June 11, 2021 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  12. Mercedes Sprinter Service

    Howdy, There's no doubt that your blog could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent website!


    June 11, 2021 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  13. Rv Upholstery Shop Near Me

    Very good article! We will be linking to this great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    June 11, 2021 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  14. RV Repair California

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Thank you!


    June 11, 2021 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  15. rv body repair shops near me


    June 11, 2021 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  16. riding near me

    Hello! I just wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information you've got right here on this post. I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.


    June 11, 2021 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  17. Honda Showroom

    Ahaa, its fastidious dialogue regarding this post
    here at this blog, I have read all that, so at this time me
    also commenting here.

    June 11, 2021 at 11:15 am | Reply
  18. Manie Ellingson

    You made some good points there. I checked on the net for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.


    June 11, 2021 at 9:29 am | Reply
  19. Janee Hung


    June 11, 2021 at 9:11 am | Reply
  20. Google Fi Coupon Code ($20 worth)

    whoah this blog is fantastic i like reading your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You already know, a lot of people are hunting around for this information,
    you can aid them greatly.

    June 11, 2021 at 3:07 am | Reply
  21. Seth Madeiros

    I used to be able to find good advice from your articles.


    June 11, 2021 at 1:52 am | Reply
  22. Herlinda Ashmore


    June 10, 2021 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  23. Zackary Losavio


    June 10, 2021 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  24. Marian Filkins

    Hi there! I could have sworn Iíve been to your blog before but after browsing through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím definitely happy I found it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!

    June 10, 2021 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  25. rv repair near me

    Good article. I certainly appreciate this website. Stick with it!


    June 10, 2021 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  26. Noelle Marion


    June 10, 2021 at 6:29 pm | Reply
  27. Dario Budrow


    June 10, 2021 at 11:48 am | Reply
  28. Mandi Bervig

    I was more than happy to uncover this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to check out new things in your site.


    June 10, 2021 at 11:05 am | Reply
  29. Chase Venable


    June 10, 2021 at 3:42 am | Reply
  30. slot Joker123

    Hello my loved one! I want to say that this article
    is awesome, great written and include approximately all important infos.
    I would like to peer more posts like this .

    June 10, 2021 at 3:40 am | Reply
  31. rv repair near me

    Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 10, 2021 at 2:05 am | Reply
  32. Rosella Shehan

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having troubles with your RSS. I donít understand why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    June 10, 2021 at 12:53 am | Reply
  33. Cherilyn Neth


    June 9, 2021 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  34. Content Marketing Specialist

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the rest of the site is really good.


    June 9, 2021 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  35. Pia Fremon


    June 9, 2021 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  36. Charlie Dusseault


    June 9, 2021 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  37. Terry Kyer

    I enjoy looking through an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

    June 9, 2021 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  38. Ban may photocopy

    Sizing needs will dictate the sort and size of copier you want to implement within your workplace.

    June 9, 2021 at 11:49 am | Reply
  39. Internet Marketing Consultants

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your site.


    June 9, 2021 at 7:49 am | Reply
  40. wall paint shops near me

    I was extremely pleased to find this great site. I want to to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you saved to fav to check out new information in your website.


    June 8, 2021 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  41. RV Lighting Los Angeles


    June 8, 2021 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  42. Chevy Van Repair Panels

    You should take part in a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the internet. I am going to highly recommend this blog!


    June 8, 2021 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  43. best auto body shop in orange county


    June 8, 2021 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  44. best progressive games for android

    Awesome issues here. I'm very happy to see your article.
    Thanks a lot and I'm looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

    June 8, 2021 at 8:43 am | Reply
  45. RV Dent Repair Los Angeles


    June 8, 2021 at 12:52 am | Reply
  46. rv repair near me now

    Hello there, I do think your website may be having web browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, great website!


    June 8, 2021 at 12:49 am | Reply
  47. 2010 Mercedes Sprinter Repair Panels

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be useful to read through articles from other authors and practice a little something from their websites.


    June 8, 2021 at 12:05 am | Reply
  48. Jeff Botsford Real Estate Agent

    It's not my first time to go to see this website,
    i am visiting this website dailly and obtain fastidious data from here all the time.

    My blog ... Jeff Botsford Real Estate Agent

    June 7, 2021 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  49. Mercedes Sprinter Van Service Near Me


    June 7, 2021 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  50. rv mechanic near me

    Right here is the perfect site for everyone who wishes to find out about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic that has been written about for years. Excellent stuff, just great!


    June 7, 2021 at 10:42 am | Reply
  51. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service Near Me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the website is really good.


    June 6, 2021 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  52. gamestop near me


    June 6, 2021 at 5:54 am | Reply
  53. slide out repair


    June 6, 2021 at 1:48 am | Reply
  54. Nercedes Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 6, 2021 at 12:52 am | Reply
  55. trailer service and repair near me


    June 5, 2021 at 8:19 am | Reply
  56. Ecu Repair Shop For Sprinter Van


    June 5, 2021 at 8:07 am | Reply
  57. junkyards near me


    June 5, 2021 at 6:22 am | Reply
  58. Local Marketing Firms

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs on the web. I'm going to highly recommend this web site!


    June 5, 2021 at 6:11 am | Reply
  59. RV And Truck Repair Near Me


    June 5, 2021 at 6:04 am | Reply
  60. Authorized Sprinter Repair Facility


    June 5, 2021 at 5:56 am | Reply
  61. RV Electrical Repair Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this amazing site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the information!


    June 4, 2021 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  62. 2010 Mercedes Sprinter Repair Panels

    Hello, I believe your blog may be having internet browser compatibility problems. When I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in Internet Explorer, it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic blog!


    June 4, 2021 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  63. boost mobile near me

    I absolutely love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím planning to create my own website and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Appreciate it!


    June 4, 2021 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  64. rv countertop remodel


    June 4, 2021 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  65. fiberglass near me

    You are so awesome! I do not suppose I've truly read a single thing like that before. So good to discover someone with a few unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!


    June 4, 2021 at 11:35 am | Reply
  66. Dodge Sprinter Repair

    I like looking through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


    June 4, 2021 at 6:45 am | Reply
  67. Mercedes Diesel Repair

    I was able to find good information from your blog articles.


    June 4, 2021 at 4:34 am | Reply
  68. remodel near me

    May I simply say what a comfort to find somebody that really understands what they're talking about on the net. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you're not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.


    June 4, 2021 at 4:31 am | Reply
  69. deli near me

    I really like it whenever people get together and share opinions. Great website, keep it up!


    June 4, 2021 at 4:31 am | Reply
  70. nearest rv store


    June 4, 2021 at 3:44 am | Reply
  71. Judi Poker Online

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am
    going to revisit yet again since i have bookmarked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and
    continue to help other people.

    June 3, 2021 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  72. motor home furnishings

    Very good article. I absolutely appreciate this website. Keep writing!


    June 3, 2021 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  73. fiberglass repair near me

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your web site.


    June 3, 2021 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  74. rv mattresses near me


    June 3, 2021 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  75. camper van restoration


    June 3, 2021 at 6:55 pm | Reply
  76. appliance store orange county ca


    June 3, 2021 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  77. SEO Marketing Companies Near Me

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.


    June 3, 2021 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  78. RV Kitchen Near Me

    I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this during my search for something regarding this.


    June 3, 2021 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  79. Digital Marketing Agencies Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 10:27 am | Reply
  80. RV Shower Near Me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?


    June 3, 2021 at 7:20 am | Reply
  81. RV Bathroom California

    This site certainly has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    June 3, 2021 at 7:02 am | Reply
  82. Google Marketing Company

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Kudos!


    June 3, 2021 at 6:15 am | Reply
  83. Winnebago Van Repair


    June 3, 2021 at 1:10 am | Reply
  84. Honey Jaquess

    I needed to thank you for this good read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post…


    June 3, 2021 at 12:53 am | Reply
  85. Chung Hedquist

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this blog.


    June 3, 2021 at 12:52 am | Reply
  86. Local Marketing Firm

    Can I simply say what a comfort to uncover someone who genuinely understands what they are talking about on the net. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people have to check this out and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you are not more popular since you certainly possess the gift.


    June 2, 2021 at 11:07 pm | Reply
  87. Hoyt Durrani


    June 2, 2021 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  88. Municipal Vehicle Repair Shop Near Me


    June 2, 2021 at 7:00 pm | Reply
  89. paint a dream palmdale

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I don’t know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 2, 2021 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  90. Myles Gabbert


    June 2, 2021 at 6:21 am | Reply
  91. Efren Gentles

    I quite like looking through a post that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!


    June 2, 2021 at 3:08 am | Reply
  92. Airport Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Good day! I just would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great info you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.


    June 1, 2021 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  93. Melina Zana

    Spot on with this write-up, I really think this website needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!


    June 1, 2021 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  94. Coachmen Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 1, 2021 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  95. Ford Luxury Van Repair Shop


    June 1, 2021 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  96. Sprinter Van Hard To Repair Van

    Right here is the perfect website for anybody who really wants to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that's been written about for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!


    June 1, 2021 at 7:05 am | Reply
  97. Service B Mercedes Sprinter


    May 31, 2021 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  98. Sprinter Repair Shop


    May 31, 2021 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  99. RV Satellite Repair Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  100. RV Repair Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 11:30 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Leave a Reply to Camper Repairs Near Me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.