Obama to share classified info on drone strikes

US prez wants Congress to take part in building a legal framework

In an extraordinary move, US President Barack Obama has decided to share classified information with lawmakers on “legal advice” authorising the use of drones to kill American citizens who conspire with al-Qaeda abroad.

“Today, as part of the President’s ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters, Obama has directed the Department of Justice to provide the Congressional Intelligence committees access to classified Office of Legal Counsel advice related to the subject of the Department of Justice White Paper,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

He said Obama has made this decision because he thinks a debate on the issue is healthy and he wants the US Congress to be a part of his administration’s efforts to build a durable legal framework for the country’s counter-terrorism efforts.

Obama’s move comes after repeated demands by US lawmakers in this regard. Obama aides insist that killing al-Qaeda suspects, including US citizens, in countries Yemen complies with US law and the Constitution.

Earlier, during his daily press conference, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued that Obama takes a very serious approach to these matters and has two responsibilities in mind: His absolute responsibility under the Constitution to protect the US and its citizens and his responsibility of carrying out the first one in consistence with the Constitution.

CIA’s defence

Emphasizing on careful and responsible use of unmanned aircraft, CIA Director nominee John Brennan has defended drone strikes against terrorists, saying they are conducted in full compliance of law.

“As you know, the US has publicly acknowledged that it sometimes uses remotely-piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the US and to save American lives,” said John Brennan, chief counter terrorism adviser to US President Barack Obama and nominee for CIA Director.

“In written answers submitted to a Senate Committee ahead of his confirmation hearing, Brennan said these strikes are conducted in full compliance with the law," he added.

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