Obama sees narrower terror threat, defends drones
May 23, 2013 23:11 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is outlining a narrowing terror threat that still imperils the nation but is now defined by smaller networks and homegrown extremists rather than the grandiose plots of al-Qaida.
Speaking at the National Defense University today, Obama argued that changing threats require changes to the nation's counterterrorism policies. He implored Congress to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba and pledged to allow greater oversight of the drone program. But he plans to keep the most lethal efforts with the unmanned aircraft under the control of the CIA.
Although the president is casting the drone program as crucial in the counterterror effort, he acknowledges targeted strikes are no "cure-all" and says he's deeply troubled by the civilians unintentionally killed.
Obama announced new "presidential policy guidelines" on the standards his administration uses when deciding to launch drone strikes. According to an unclassified summary of the guidelines, the U.S. will not strike if a target can be captured, and a strike can be launched only against a target posing an "imminent" threat.
241-w-35-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent, with President Barack Obama)--President Obama is defending his administration's drone strikes on terror suspects -- while renewing his call to end the detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. (23 May 2013)
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239-a-09-(President Barack Obama, in speech at the National Defense University)-"we can set"-President Obama says he's done his best to avoid civilian deaths, though there have been some, and he remains haunted by them. (23 May 2013)
<<CUT ..239 (05/23/13)>> 00:09 "we can set"
240-a-12-(President Barack Obama, in speech at the National Defense University)-"into new wars"-President Obama says drone strikes are more accurate and effective -- and less deadly -- than the alternatives: conventional military strikes. (23 May 2013)
<<CUT ..240 (05/23/13)>> 00:12 "into new wars"
238-a-09-(President Barack Obama, in speech at the National Defense University)-"troops in Afghanistan"-President Obama says the use of drone srikes is both legal and morally defensible -- and it's been effective. (23 May 2013)
<<CUT ..238 (05/23/13)>> 00:09 "troops in Afghanistan"
235-a-14-(President Barack Obama, speaking at National Defense University)-"to other countries"-President Obama says he's easing the path toward moving Guantanamo detainees to other nations. (23 May 2013)
<<CUT ..235 (05/23/13)>> 00:14 "to other countries"
234-a-12-(President Barack Obama, speaking at National Defense University)-"never been opened"-President Obama says Congress needs to lift its restrictions on transferring Guantanamo detainees. (23 May 2013)
<<CUT ..234 (05/23/13)>> 00:12 "never been opened"
APPHOTO DCPM110: President Barack Obama pauses as his speech is interrupted by CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin, Thursday, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington. CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (23 May 2013)
<<APPHOTO DCPM110 (05/23/13)>>
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