Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:09 pm
U.S. "Predator" drone over Afghanistan in Jan. 2009.
Credit Joel Saget / AFP/Getty Images
We've all heard that drone strikes directed against al-Qaida and other militants have been on the rise, but now Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has put a number on deaths by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle: 4,700.
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, rattled off the death toll during a talk he gave to the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, S.C., Tuesday afternoon.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 4:48 am
A confidential Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News outlines legal theories the Obama administration has used to justify killing American citizens abroad. Here are five key questions and answers about the document:
October 2011: Men stand on the rubble of a building destroyed by a U.S. drone strike in southeastern Yemen. Among those killed was U.S. citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the son of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki — who himself was killed by a drone strike the month before.
From 'Morning Edition': Carrie Johnson talks with Steve Inskeep
American citizens who become leaders in al-Qaida or other terrorist organizations overseas and pose "an imminent threat" to Americans may be killed with drone strikes even when there's no evidence that they have specific plans to attack Americans or U.S. interests, according to a Justice Department memo that surfaced Monday.
NPR's Carrie Johnson tells our Newscast Desk that:
This image from video provided by the SITE Intel Group made available Thursday Jan. 17, 2013, purports to show militant militia leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar. News reports say he may have been responsible for the Western hostages' being taken at a gas plant in Algeria.
Credit SITE Intel Group / AP
Mokhtar Belmokhtar has had a few skirmishes in his day.
The former Algerian soldier went to Afghanistan to join Islamist fighters battling the Soviets in the 1980s. He returned home and rose to prominence among the Islamist rebels who waged a nasty war with the Algerian government in the 1990s.
For the past decade, he's remained an elusive figure. He's believed to have spent most of his time in Algeria's Sahara and has been regarded as one of the top figures in al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.