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article imageDrone limits put American 'lives at risk,' US congressman says

By Phyllis Smith Asinyanbi     Feb 4, 2014 in Politics
Washington - Mike Rogers (R – Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, stated Tuesday that drone limits put American “lives at risk.”
At a hearing that met to discuss global threats to U.S. security, Rogers said, “The President’s May 2013 policy changes for U.S. targeted strikes are an utter and complete failure and they leave Americans’ lives at risk.”
He also stated that individuals who would have been removed by U.S. counterterrorism operations for planning attacks against U.S. interests are now free because of limits the Obama administration has mandated.
Rogers testified, "While we are busy pondering more ‘transparency, our intelligence professionals are left paralyzed because of totally incoherent policy guidance."
Last November, Rogers defended a drone strike that killed a Pakistani Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, saying it would keep Americans safe. Rogers stated Mehsud was a “bad guy” who had killed Pakistani soldiers and forced the closure of many schools that educated girls.
The Pakistani government denounced the killing and said it was another example of U.S. interference in peace talks between the Taliban and the Pakistani government.
Rogers said that the National Security Agency collects the type of information that makes drone strikes possible, and both he and Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein, have defended the NSA which came under fire for reportedly listening to conversations of the United States’ strongest allies.
He also stated that both foreign and U.S. officials already knew more about the NSA spying than they acknowledged.
When legislators began demanding more information on the validity of a drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, Rogers responded that the White House had kept lawmakers informed about operations even during the Bush administration and Rogers had been a part of those meetings.
In reference to al-Awlaki, Rogers stated, “… This guy’s a bad guy. Our options were limited, this was a tool that we could use to stop further terrorist attacks against American citizens. I supported it then,” adding that those who “join forces with the enemy” lose constitutional “protections.”
In May 2013, President Barack Obama addressed criticism of U.S. drone use and stated that moving forward, drones would only be utilized against suspected terrorists when it could be determined with almost complete certainty that civilians would not be killed.
Obama also stated that for the “war on terror” to be over, al-Qaida would have to be decimated, but did allude to the war slowing down.
More about Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee, Obama, Drones, Taliban
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