President Barack Obama is slated to deliver what even his top aides are billing as a landmark counterterrorism speech, with the commander in chief expected to announce his administration will tighten the targeting rules governing drone aircraft strikes.
Attorney General Eric Holder, in a letter sent to lawmakers this week, stated the new CT policy calls for using drone strikes only when a target poses “a continuing, imminent threat to Americans” and also can’t be nabbed by U.S. forces or any American allies willing to get their hands dirty.
The New York Times, which got a sneak peak at the speech, reported Thursday the new CT policy seems to signal past strikes in places like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia won’t be repeated unless al-Qaida types are known to pose an immediate threat to America or its interests abroad. The Times also predicted Obama might not clearly state the drone program is shifting from the CIA to the Pentagon, but he will imply as much. (Watch the speech on C-SPAN at 2 p.m. EST.)
So by tightening the targeting guidelines, what direction is Obama aiming to take the controversial U.S. drone-strike program? One former senior CIA official told Intercepts this week he has some idea — and he supports the policy shift. More