News / USA

Critics Continue to Press Obama on Targeted Killing Policy

President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner delivers his State of the Union speech, Feb. 12, 2013
President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner delivers his State of the Union speech, Feb. 12, 2013
President Barack Obama this week pledged to develop a clear policy framework to guide U.S. counterterrorism operations, including targeted killings of terrorist suspects.  But the promise in his State of the Union address has not satisfied critics.  

Obama chose his words carefully on the methods the administration uses in fighting terrorism, including the use of remote-controlled drones against terrorist suspects.

Without using the word drone, he said "a range of capabilities" will be used against terrorists.  And he used his speech to address concerns members of Congress have.

"In our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way," said President Obama. "So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world."

He spoke of a need for a "durable legal and policy framework" for counterterrorism operations.

Controversy over the legal justifications for targeted killings was reignited after the recent leak of a Justice Department report.  

It said Americans working overseas for al-Qaida or an affiliate could be targeted if a high-level U.S. government official determined they pose an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.

That document triggered a wave of criticism on Capitol Hill.  Lawmakers, including Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, demanded that the White House turn over legal opinions used.

Human rights and civil liberties organizations continue to press for more transparency from the Obama administration.

Zeke Johnson, director of Amnesty International USA's security and human rights campaign, says Obama's State of the Union remarks fell short.

"What he should have done is made it clear that the U.S. government will follow its international human rights obligations when it comes to the use of lethal force, when it comes to detention, when it comes to the issue of torture," said Johnson. "There are very clear obligations under law for the U.S. government and President Obama should recommit to meeting those obligations."

The White House says conversations continue with Congress on a legal architecture.  

Press secretary Jay Carney says there will be a need for "combined actions" with Congress.

"The president understands the gravity of these issues," said Carney. "That is why he is committed to taking very seriously his responsibilities in this, and committed to the kind of process that you have seen in an effort to communicate publicly about it."

Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project, challenges the administration's use of a law passed after the September 11, 2001, al-Qaida attacks to justify targeted killings.

"It contains extremely broad language, which the administration is interpreting to permit it to carry out targeted killings far from Afghanistan and outside of any armed conflict," said Shamsi. "So we don't think that the AUMF [Authorization for Use of Military Force] justifies the authority the administration is claiming."

Congressional demands for the White House to turn over all classified legal opinions on targeted killings have delayed a final Senate Intelligence Committee vote on John Brennan, the nominee to head the CIA.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More