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Obama Orders Release of Admission that Drones Have Killed 4 U.S. Citizens Since 2009
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Its not news that four American citizens have been killed by counter-terrorism drones, in a sort of dystopic sci fi series of attacks targeting enemies of the state. What’s news is that Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to it for the first time Wednesday. He addressed a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt, and from him the rest of us heard it. Holder admitted this because he was told to: President Barack Obama used the disclosure to draw attention to a speech he is scheduled to deliver Thursday about the U.S.’s “broader counter-terrorism strategy.” He intends to discuss our policies and practices in using “counterterrorism operations” such as unarmed drones to hunt down members of al Qaeda.

Of the four who were killed by drones, only one was specifically targeted – they admitted this – Anwar al-Awlaki. The disturbing idea of targeting and killing an American citizen without trial has upset our patriotic sensibilities, but Holder answers them, saying, “al-Awlaki was a senior operational leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the most dangerous regional affiliate of al Qaeda and a group that has committed numerous terrorist attacks overseas and attempted multiple times to conduct terrorist attacks against the U.S. homeland.”

  
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How and why al-Awlaki’s son, another American citizen, a 16-year-old Denver native, ended up done in by drones a couple weeks later was another story. As for Samir Khan and Jude Kennan Mohammed, two other American citizens killed by drones, the letter says that “These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States.”

If admitting to murdering American citizens sounds a bit like a commercial for people to tune into a speech, Holder, at least, sees it as a noble act: “Since entering office, the president has made clear his commitment to providing Congress and the American people with as much information as possible about our sensitive counterterrorism operations,” as he told Leahy, as Fox News reported. “The administration is determined to continue these extensive outreach efforts to communicate with the American people.”

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