White House confirms four American citizens killed in US drone strikes since 2009

 

The Obama administration acknowledged publicly for the first time that four US citizens have been killed in drone strikes since 2009 in Pakistan and Yemen.

The disclosure comes on the eve of a major national security speech by President Barack Obama in which he plans to pledge more transparency to Congress in his counterterrorism policy.

The White House said Obama's speech today coincides with the signing of new "presidential policy guidance" on when the US can use drone strikes, though it was unclear what that guidance entailed and whether Obama would outline its specifics in his remarks.

A move to gradually shift responsibility for the bulk of US drone strikes from the CIA to the military has already begun. The CIA would continue to conduct operations in Pakistan, while the military takes on the operations in other parts of the world, according to an administration official speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorised to speak publicly,.

It was already known that three Americans had been killed in US drones strikes in counterterrorism operations overseas, but the government's top lawyer, Attorney General Eric Holder, disclosed details that had remained secret, including the fourth citizen killed.

In a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder said the government targeted and killed US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and that the US "is aware" of the killing of three others who were not targets of counterterror operations.

Al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric, was killed in a drone strike in September 2011 in Yemen. The other two known cases have been Samir Khan, who was killed in the same drone strike as al-Awlaki and al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, who also was killed in Yemen.

The newly revealed case is that of Jude Kenan Mohammed, one of eight men indicted by federal authorities in 2009 and accused of being part of a plot to attack the US Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia. Before he could be arrested, Mohammad fled the country to join jihadi fighters in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where he was among those killed by a US drone.

"Since entering office, the president has made clear his commitment to providing Congress and the American people with as much information as possible about our sensitive counterterrorism operations," Holder said in his letter. "To this end, the president has directed me to disclose certain information that until now has been properly classified."

Obama's speech is expected to reaffirm his national security priorities — from homegrown terrorists to killer drones to the enemy combatants imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay — but make no new sweeping policy pronouncements.

Obama is expected to say the US will make a renewed effort to transfer detainees out of the Navy-run detention centre for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to other countries. Obama recently restated his desire to close Guantanamo, a pledge he made shortly after his inauguration in January 2009.

That effort, however, has been stymied because many countries don't want the detainees or are unwilling or unable to guarantee that once transferred, detainees who may continue to be a threat will not be released.

There are currently about 166 prisoners at Guantanamo, and 86 have been approved for transfer as long as security restrictions are met.

Obama is also expected to make the case that the US-led war in Afghanistan has decimated al-Qa'ida's core, even as new threats emerge elsewhere.

AP

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game