WASHINGTON: The White House said on Tuesday that US drone strikes on potential terrorist targets were ‘legal,’ ‘ethical’ and ‘wise’ and would continue.
“These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told a briefing in Washington. “The US government takes great care in deciding to pursue an Al Qaeda terrorist, to ensure precision and to avoid loss of innocent life.”
Mr Carney rejected the media criticism of the US drone policy, the day after a Department of Justice memo leaked the conditions in which it viewed drone strikes targeted at American citizens abroad as legal.
The DOJ memo, which was first reported by NBC, says that the government can order the killing of American citizens abroad if there is reason to believe they are “senior operational leaders” of Al Qaeda or “an associated force”.
“If an informed, high-level official” determines that an individual is “a senior, operational leader of Al Qaeda or an associated force” and poses “an imminent threat” to the United States and that individual’s “capture is infeasible”, then killing him or her wouldn’t violate the Constitution, says the memo.
The 16-page “white paper” provides a legal framework for killing a terrorist overseas, without violating his due process — even if the person is an American citizen.