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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid