During his first term in office, President Barack Obama often pledged to honor American 'values'—especially transparency—in the war on terror. During the first State Of The Union address of his second term, Obama returned to that theme, promising to "enlist our values" while killing suspected terrorists.

This time, Obama spoke of past accomplishments as well as future commitments, and responded, perhaps for the first time, to critics of the administration's largely opaque targeted killing program:

[M]y Administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism operations. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.