Obama to justify drone attacks at US Defence University

US President Barack Obama, who is set to deliver a counter-terrorism strategy speech, will discuss his plans for unmanned drones and Guantanamo Bay, a White House official said.

hidden May 23, 2013 10:29:17 IST
Obama to justify drone attacks at US Defence University

Washington: US President Barack Obama, who is set to deliver a counter-terrorism strategy speech, will discuss his plans for unmanned drones and Guantanamo Bay, a White House official said.

Obama to justify drone attacks at US Defence University

US President Barack Obama

In a broad and comprehensive address at the prestigious National Defence University (NDU) today, Obama will lay out the framework for US counter-terrorism strategy as the US winds down the war in Afghanistan, and as he looks forward to the rest of his second term, a White House official said.

"The President will provide the American people with an update on how the threat of terrorism has changed substantially since 9/11, as al-Qaeda's core in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been decimated, and new threats have emerged from al-Qaeda affiliates, localised extremist groups, and homegrown terrorists," the official said on condition of anonymity.

In his address, Obama will also discuss the comprehensive American strategy to meet these threats, including waging the war against al-Qaeda and counter-terrorism efforts more broadly, the official said.

"Consistent with his commitment to being open and transparent with the American people, he will speak at length about the policy and legal rationale for how the United States takes direct action against al-Qaeda and its associated forces, including with drone strikes," the official said.

"He will discuss why the use of drone strikes is necessary, legal, and just, while addressing the various issues raised by our use of targeted action," he said.

In fact, on the eve of his important speech, US Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter to the US lawmakers informing them for the first time that four American nationals have been killed in US drone strikes overseas.

"The speech coincides with the disclosure of the instances in which Americans have been killed in our counter-terrorism operations, and more broadly the signing of new Presidential Policy Guidance that lays out the standards under which we take lethal action," he said.

"Beyond the use of force, the President will discuss our broader strategy, including diplomatic and assistance efforts around the world, and how we can better secure our diplomatic facilities while remaining engaged in dangerous regions," the White House official said, adding Obama will also discuss how to balance securing the country and protecting the civil liberties at home.

"Finally, the President will reiterate his strong commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo as a part of our effort to align our counter-terrorism strategy with our values, and will announce a number of specific steps to advance that goal," the White House official said.

PTI

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