News / USA

White House Responds to Report on Obama's Role in Targeted Killings

An undated U.S. Air Force image shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. An undated U.S. Air Force image shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft.
x
An undated U.S. Air Force image shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft.
An undated U.S. Air Force image shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft.
The White House responded Tuesday to a major U.S. newspaper report about President Barack Obama's role in the U.S. war against al-Qaida, including decisions to place suspected terrorists on a list of people to be killed.  

In a report published Tuesday, The New York Times newspaper said that since he came to office, Mr. Obama has assumed an unprecedented role in personally overseeing a "shadow war" against al-Qaida, including making final decisions whether to place individuals on a "kill list."

The newspaper cited dozens of current and former U.S. officials and Obama administration advisers who were interviewed for the report, who confirmed the existence of the list of al-Qaida suspects who can be targeted for attack by unmanned aircraft.

President Obama significantly increased the use of drones to strike terrorist targets in Pakistan.  Use of the aircraft also has increased in Yemen, where the United States has directed military support to help the government fight al-Qaida-backed forces.

The New York Times report said Mr. Obama personally approves drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, and decides whether to attack a terror suspect when the suspect's family is present.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Obama has made clear the United States will take whatever steps are necessary to protect Americans, but act in a manner that is "lawful and consistent" with U.S. values.

Carney was asked about a specific aspect of the report, involving what The New York Times said was a method that counts all men of military age in a strike zone as militants, unless there is intelligence to the contrary.

“This president's first priority is the protection of the United States, the protection of the citizens of this country," said Carney. "And he takes that responsibility enormously seriously, and that is why he has pursued the fight against al-Qaida in the very direct way that he has.  He also believes very strongly in the need to avoid civilian casualties in the pursuit of that objective."

Carney directed reporters several times to a speech earlier this year by John Brennan, President Obama's counter-terrorism adviser, focusing U.S. efforts to avoid civilian casualties.

The president's spokesman said the United States is able to pursue al-Qaida in a way that "significantly reduces the potential for and the fact of" civilian casualties.  However, Carney declined to go into the specifics of the process by which decisions are made.

Carney was also pressed about the legal justification for the existence of the "kill list" described by The New York Times, and was asked about secrecy regarding the matter.

He said Mr. Obama's "capacity" to go after members of al-Qaida was well-established in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by the U.S. Congress after the 2001 al-Qaida attacks on the United States.

The United States, Carney said, has held itself to the highest possible standards as to the execution of counterterrorism operations, while using tools to avoid civilian casualties.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid