News / USA

New US Counterterrorism Guidelines Face Questions

The White House in Washington, D.C., December 30, 2012.The White House in Washington, D.C., December 30, 2012.
x
The White House in Washington, D.C., December 30, 2012.
The White House in Washington, D.C., December 30, 2012.
The White House is neither confirming nor denying a U.S. newspaper report that work is nearly complete on a set of specific guidelines for the U.S. war on terrorism.  The so-called "playbook" on counter-terrorism still awaits President Barack Obama's final approval.  

A recent report by The Washington Post said the "playbook" with specific details of U.S. counterterrorism policies is in the final stages of review.

Quoting anonymous U.S. officials, the newspaper said the document would provide specifics and legal principles to be used in deciding whether terrorist suspects, including U.S. citizens overseas, could be targeted for attack.

The guidelines would also spell out the approvals required before strikes by remote-controlled drones.

On that point, U.S. government agencies are expected to agree that CIA-directed drone attacks in Pakistan against al-Qaida and Taliban forces can continue, at least until 2014, when U.S. combat troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan.

The counterterrorism playbook is unlikely to be made public.  White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to discuss specifics of the document, but said President Obama remains determined to pursue operations against al-Qaida and its allies.

"The president's overall approach is that we need to do everything we can to keep Americans and America safe, as well as our allies, and we need to do it in ways that are consistent with our values and our laws," said Carney. "And that is certainly the approach that he has taken and will continue to take."

Since 2009, President Obama has intensified drone attacks in Pakistan, and in Yemen against an al-Qaida affiliate group, despite criticism at home and abroad.

The apparent drone strike in 2011 that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric working in Yemen for al-Qaida, refocused media attention on the use of “targeted killings.”  

Carney referred reporters to statements by counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, nominated to head the CIA.  Brennan has been the principal official defining legal and moral justifications for use of drones and targeted killings.

Matthew Aid, an independent intelligence analyst, says the emerging guidelines have gone through numerous revisions and are the subject of intense debate.  He suggests that any exemption from the guidelines of drone strikes in Pakistan is cause for concern.

"The principal weapon that the U.S. government uses at present to locate, localize and kill terrorists is the unmanned drone," said Aid. "So if you exempt the drones from this doctrinal document that has been put together over the span of a year by the White House and the national security establishment, basically you're leaving out a critical component of what it is we're doing out there."

In a telephone conference call Tuesday, former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations voiced their concerns.  Blair said covert drone operations have created "legal knots" (dilemmas) for the Obama administration, and that targeted killings in Pakistan will not help the Islamabad government control the threat if faces from terrorist activity in the long term.

ZENKO:  “If the United States decides not to apply the playbook to Pakistan it is essentially meaningless because 85 percent of all the targeted killings that the U.S. has conducted in non-battlefield settings since September 11, 2001, have occurred in Pakistan.  So the vast majority of targeted killings and drone strikes will not be covered under the playbook."

BLAIR: "A classified playbook does not reassure the American people who I think are the primary ones that need to be convinced that their government is doing the right thing."

White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked if drone strikes contradict part of President Obama's inauguration speech in which he said Americans believe "enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."

Despite progress against "al-Qaida central," Carney said,  Obama remains "clear eyed" about the threat posed by affiliated groups in a "new phase" of the counterterrorism war.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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