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ACLU to Biden: Do Not 'Review' Drone Killing Program—End It Once and for All

"Tinkering with the bureaucracy of this extrajudicial killing program will only entrench American abuses," said the group's national security expert.

"In the name of counterterrorism, U.S. presidents have for two decades authorized unlawful, secretive, and unaccountable killing abroad," the ACLU's Hina Shamsi said on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Photo: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

"In the name of counterterrorism, U.S. presidents have for two decades authorized unlawful, secretive, and unaccountable killing abroad," the ACLU's Hina Shamsi said on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Photo: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

In response to reporting on President Joe Biden's review of policies governing lethal airstrikes in foreign countries and implementation of "temporary" limits on drone killings outside of designated war zones, the ACLU is telling the administration that the only acceptable reform is to permanently abolish the United States' extrajudicial overseas assassination program.

"In the name of counterterrorism, U.S. presidents have for two decades authorized unlawful, secretive, and unaccountable killing abroad," Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's national security project, said Thursday in a statement. "This lethal program violates domestic and international law and has caused years of devastating harm to people in the majority-Muslim countries on the receiving end of American power."

"Tinkering with the bureaucracy of this extrajudicial killing program will only entrench American abuses," Shamsi added. "It must end."

In a tweet shared Thursday, the ACLU noted that "President Biden promised to end forever wars, but his administration has yet to take meaningful action."

Forgoing an official announcement, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan quietly issued the order to temporarily limit drone warfare "outside conventional battlefield zones" on January 20, the day of the president's inauguration, according to the New York Times.

"The military and the CIA must now obtain White House permission to attack terrorism suspects in poorly governed places where there are scant American ground troops, like Somalia and Yemen," the Times reported. "Under the Trump administration, they had been allowed to decide for themselves whether circumstances on the ground met certain conditions and an attack was justified."

Despite having issued "interim guidance" about the so-called "targeted" use of military force, Biden illegally "revenge" bombed Syria last week without congressional approval.

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