John Brennan, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, confirmed the use of drones in terrorist strikes Monday at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. He called the strikes “legal, ethical and wise,” using the highest standards to best try to limit loss of civil life.
Brennan, the former director of the CIA’s National Counterterrorism Center, was directly involved in locating and killing al-Qaida head, Osama bin Laden. He chaired the White House meetings with President Obama and his national security team that led to the U.S. Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s complex in Abbottabad, Pakistan, one year ago this coming Wednesday.
Brennan discussed the administration’s ongoing efforts to dismantle al-Qaida while conforming to American values and staying within the rule of law.
During appearances on the Sunday political talk shows, Brennan called President Obama “gutsy” for ordering the bin Laden raid. He cautioned that al-Qaida still remained a threat even though its top leadership was in disarray.
Brennan also defended the administration’s decision not to release photographs of bin Laden’s corpse or his burial. Last week, a U.S. district judge in Washington turned down Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act request for the photographs.
The Obama administration was criticized this week for “politicizing” the bin Laden killing. The President’s election campaign put out a television spot suggesting that bin Laden would still be at large if Mitt Romney were the sitting president.
An anti-war protester interrupted Brennan’s speech, speaking out against American drone strikes and the killing of innocent civilians.
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says the U.S. assassination drone strikes in Pakistan are carried out by the CIA and not the Air Force, to avoid clear violation of the international law.
In an interview with Press TV’s U.S. Desk on Sunday, McGovern said, “If the Air Force did it, it would be a clear violation of international law since we are not at war with Pakistan.”
McGovern also said the drone strikes are counterproductive and only benefit top military officials and arms makers.