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Obama Administration Says Drone Strikes Legal under International Law
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President Barrack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser on said on Monday that the U.S. campaign of drone strikes to kill militants on foreign soil is legal according to international law. On the eve of the death anniversary of Osama bin Laden, John Brennan publicly discussed the drone program which is usually considered as covert operations.

Brennan said, “I’m here today because President Obama has instructed us to be more open with the American people about these efforts.” Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Brennan said, “These targeted strikes are legal.” To substantiate his claims, the counterterrorism expert cited sources like legal opinions from the administration, from the U.S. constitution and relevant parts of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Brennan said, “As a matter of international law, the United States is in an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces, in response to the 9/11 attacks, and we may also use force consistent with our inherent right of national self-defense.”


However U.S. drone attacks including the killing of American citizens overseas have been the subject of intense public debate and scrutiny. Earlier this year the ACLU had filed a lawsuit seeking Justice Department memos that support the killings.

Brennan told the audience that it was erroneous to hold that the United States preferred killing militants over capturing them. 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.”

Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project said, “It is dangerous to characterize the entire planet as a battlefield … We continue to believe, based on the information available, that the program itself is not just unlawful but dangerous.”

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The ACLU said that Brennan’s speech on the issue was an “unambiguous acknowledgement” of the views of the administration on the issue of drone strikes.



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