Top Obama aide offers legal defense of drone strikes

By REUTERS
April 30, 2012 19:26




WASHINGTON - The deadly US campaign of drone strikes against al-Qaida is fully legal under international law, US President Barack Obama's counter-terrorism chief insisted on Monday in the most extensive justification of a controversial tactic that has eliminated some of the most-wanted militants.

Speaking on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the US killing of Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan, the White House aide, John Brennan, said the US administration holds itself to a "rigorous" review process in deciding on drone targets in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The bin Laden commando raid and unmanned air strikes in Pakistan have severely strained relations between Washington and Islamabad.

"I'm here today because President Obama has instructed us to be more open with the American people about these efforts," Brennan said in a speech to a Washington think tank.

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