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DNI Clapper Admits CIA's Not-Really-Secret Secret Drone Program

by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has publicly acknowledged the supposedly covert CIA drone program.

While media outlets and some government officials have publicly admitted the program, the CIA has denied a Freedom of Information Act request made by the ACLU about details of its targeting killing program.

But Clapper indirectly acknowledged the CIA program at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday during an exchange with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), as the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Nelson, who thinks the drone program has been "exceptionally precise" and refuses to believe reports that the strikes have left a high number of civilian casualties, asked Clapper if it was true that the administration was considering shifting the use of drones from the CIA to the Department of Defense.

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"Yes, sir, it is. And again, that would also be best left to a closed session," Clapper responded.

UK-based charity Reprieve has referred to the CIA drone program as "the death penalty without trial, and the new face of state lawlessness in the name of counter-terrorism."

The exchange, which happened around two hours into the hearing, can be seen below in the video from C-SPAN:

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