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HomeNewsPoliticsReport: Obama Waived Drone Strike Procedures In Pakistan Before Accidental Killings

Report: Obama Waived Drone Strike Procedures In Pakistan Before Accidental Killings

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U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a statement on the accidental killing of two hostages held by al-Qaida, American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 23, 2015.

In the wake of the accidental killings of two hostages held by al Qaeda, President Obama said he ordered a “full review” of the process that led up to the tragedy. The president also said the strike that killed the hostages was “fully consistent with the guidelines under which we conduct counterterrorism efforts in the region.”

However, a new report from The Wall Street Journal, citing retired and current high-level U.S. officials, claims Obama loosened restrictions on the CIA conducting drone strikes in Pakistan and waived procedures currently heralded by his administration as program safeguards. In order to understand the implications of the alleged decision, it is imperative to understand certain aspects to the U.S. CIA-led drone strike operations in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

There are two categories of drone strikes. First, terror leaders fall under the “kill list” category, which must be approved by President Obama, himself. The second category is dubbed a “signature strike”, which does not need the president’s approval. These are carried out against suspected groups of militants and was the type of operation that resulted in the deaths of two hostages, American Dr. Warren Weinstein and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto, on Jan. 15.

READ ALSO — Family Of American Hostage Killed In Drone Strike Releases Statement

Apparently, the CIA’s Pakistan drone strike program was initially exempt from the “imminent threat” requirement until the end of U.S. and NATO combat operations in Afghanistan. However, top U.S. officials revealed the waiver was extended when Obama decided to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the promised withdrawal date of December 2014. Further, the administration initially intended to cut down and eventually eliminate “signature strikes” due to the amount of civilian deaths, as the latter category that frequently results in less surveillance of suspect militants and target locations. Yet, these reforms have never been implemented.

If the “imminent threat” requirement had been extended to Pakistan, according to officials who spoke to the Journal, CIA intelligence operatives would have had to conduct more surveillance of the suspected militants and the compound, potentially preventing the tragedy on Jan. 15 mission.

American hostage and Dr. Warren Weinstein and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto

Dr. Weinstein, while working as an economic development advisor, was captured from his home in Lahore, Pakistan on August 13, 2011, and was held hostage for more than three and a half years.

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  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssoOASanKao

    Emmy-winning journalist, Shad Olson, explores the controversy over U.S. drone policy, both at home and abroad.

    While technological sky supremacy gives America strategic superiority on the battlefield, the prospect of drone proliferation over U.S. cities is causing concern about loss of privacy, an end to Habeas Corpus and judicial due process and the destruction of Constitutional rights.

    South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune and former U.S. Senate candidate, Sam Kephart share their views about the consequences of domestic drone deployment in the fight against terrorism.

    Originally aired on KNBN-TV, (NBC) NewsCenter1, Rapid City, South Dakota.

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