EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

February 11, 2013

Gates says drone strikes should get outside review

WASHINGTON — Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that there should be an outside check on the power of a president to order drone strikes on U.S. citizens.

Gates, a former CIA director who was defense secretary under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, said decisions to execute Americans should be subject to some outside review, perhaps by a panel of judges or by Congress.

“I think that the rules and the practices that the Obama administration has followed are quite stringent and are not being abused,” Gates said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But who is to say about a future president?”

Obama has increased the use of drones to attack terrorists in the Middle East. Last week, the debate over the administration’s use of drones intensified as the Senate held a confirmation hearing for John Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism chief, to become head of the CIA.

An administration legal memo recently made public argues that the president has wide authority to kill Americans who are suspected of plotting with al-Qaida. Last week, Obama agreed to allow the Senate and House intelligence committees to review classified legal memos used to justify the drone strike in 2011 that killed Anwar Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who became an al-Qaida leader in Yemen.

Gates also said that he was a “big advocate” of drones because they are more precise than other weapons. He said the number of innocent people is “extremely small.”

“You do have the ability to limit that collateral damage more than with any other weapons system that you have,” Gates said.

The increased pace of drone strikes – 3,000 people have been killed in the past four years, including three Americans – and the lack of review has unsettled some members of Congress, who are pushing for more explanation of the legal rationale behind the attacks.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Obama Asks Central American Leaders for Help Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Obama Advisor Skips House Hearing Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control
Latest World News
Today in History for July 28th Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 27th Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv Raw: Sirens After Explosions in Israel Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Raw: Planes With MH17 Victims Land in Eindhoven Kerry Lays Out Ceasefire Goals for Gaza Family of MH17 Victim Pay Respects at Crash Site US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes Raw: Tanks Patrol Gaza Streets During Ceasefire Raw: Residents Come Home to Rubble in Gaza 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Today in History for July 26th Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce
Photos of the Week