President Obama will announce a new phase in his administration’s counter-terrorism operations Thursday, one day after Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress admitting that Obama’s drone program has killed four Americans, three of them by accident. President Bush’s administration killed just one American by drone during his tenure and also waterboarded three al Qaeda terrorists.
At the National Defense University at Fort McNair, Obama will stress the transparent nature of his drone program, announce new limits to its targeting practices, and renew his efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The new ‘playbook’
As part of his drone strike transparency effort, Obama has approved briefings for members of Congress on how exactly his administration selects targets and carries out drone operations. He is also expected to announce that his administration will now apply the same level of safeguards for killing Americans that it does for all drone targets.
On Guantanamo, Obama is expected to announce he will resume transferring as many of 166 detainees off the island as he can. The Obama administration has already cleared 86 of the prisoners for transfer to other countries, but transfers to some countries, like Yemen, were halted due to security concerns. There is no indication Obama has firm plans to finally close Guantanamo as he promised he would do in his first year in office back in 2008.
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