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US Government Seeks to Dictate Global Rules for Drone Warfare

Despite mounting criticisms against controversial targeted killing program, US seeks to dictate how others should operate

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

(Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

As other countries race to build up drone warfare programs ending the 'monopoly' that the Obama administration has held over the highly controversial method of targeted killing, the US government is reportedly dictating how the international community will run their own covert and illegal drone operations.

According to a new Reuters analysis, despite the veil of secrecy behind which President Obama has presided over drone strikes and his targeted 'kill list,' the Administration is now openly seeking to influence global guidelines on the matter. 

"We are constantly working to refine, clarify, and strengthen the process for considering terrorist targets for lethal action," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council. Adding, "we are establishing standards other nations may follow."

At this point, a number of countries have admitted to having unarmed reconnaissance drones. China reportedly has an armed drone, and even considered conducting its first lethal drone strike in 2011, "but authorities decided they wanted the man alive so they could put him on trial," reported state-run newspaper Global Times.

According to James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, one of the administration's primary goals is to "regularize" the drone program, "making it more a part of accepted U.S. practice in the future." Adding, "This is going to be part of warfare." 

This report comes on the heels of a unanimous ruling Friday by a federal appeals court panel that determined that the CIA gave an inadequate response to a Freedom of Information request by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking records about drone strikes.

According to the court, the CIA's 'claims' of concern over national security were rebuked by the Administration's public acknowledgement of the program.


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