Even Former Administration Officials Question Drone Killings

Lack of transparency, due process raise concerns


The use of unmanned aircraft to kill suspected terrorists, a practice that has dramatically escalated during the Obama administration, is receiving fresh and welcome scrutiny in Congress and elsewhere even as the number of drone strikes seems to be on the decline. Last week, Rep. William M. "Mac" Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairman of a House armed services subcommittee, introduced legislation to require the Pentagon to promptly inform Congress about every drone strike outside Afghanistan as well as about operations to kill or capture terrorists away from declared war zones.

And in a speech at Oxford University, Harold Koh, who until recently served as the State Department's legal advisor, criticized the administration for not being "sufficiently transparent to the media, to the Congress and to our allies." He urged the administration to publicize its standards for placing targets — Americans and others — on kill lists and to offer a clear tally of civilian casualties.