Thu Jun 7, 2012, 08:42 PM
hue (3,435 posts)
How The President Decides To Make Drone Strikes
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
Yesterday, the White House reported that one of the seven drone strikes in Pakistan over the past two weeks killed al-Qaida's number two leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi. The Pakistani government called in a senior U.S. diplomat in Islamabad to protest, yet again, that the strikes violate international law and Pakistan's national sovereignty. In India today, though, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made it clear that these targeted attacks on terrorists will continue. This, he said, is about our sovereignty as well.
Last week, Newsweek excerpted a portion of Daniel Klaidman's new book, "Kill or Capture," that pulls back the curtain on the Obama administration's intense closed-door process of deciding where to strike and whom to kill. The author joins us now from our bureau in New York. And, Daniel Klaidman, thanks very much for being with us today.
DANIEL KLAIDMAN: Thanks for having me, Neal.
CONAN: And there's a couple of meetings that you described in some detail, but, perhaps, this was a policy that was in place in the Bush administration. It was one that President Obama inherited, and, indeed, one of the very first strikes that happened after his administration took office went terribly wrong.
KLAIDMAN: Yeah, that's exactly right. This was three days after Barack Obama took office, only hours before he had signed these executive orders that rolled back some of the - what he viewed as the excesses of the previous administration's counterterrorism policies, Guantanamo, torture, shutting down the CIA detention facilities. And then, on January 23, John Brennan, his chief counterterrorism advisor, came to him and had to give him the news that the very first drone strike of his presidency had gone very badly wrong and a Pakistani tribal elder and much of his family, a pro-peace person, had been wiped out in this drone strike.
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