An unmanned drone armed with Hellfire missiles is shown over southern Afghanistan. A Hellfire missile fired from a drone was used in 2011 to kill an American in Yemen who the Obama administration says was an al-Qaida leader. Another American died in that attack, and a 16-year-old American was killed in a separate drone strike.
Credit Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt / AP
The controversy over President Obama's targeted-killings-by-drone policy is a reminder that the default position of presidents in times of crisis is generally to side with national security over civil liberties.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 4:50 am
John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to be the next CIA director, worked closely with Saudi Arabia to set up a secret U.S. drone base there, <em>The New York Times</em> reported. Brennan's confirmation hearing is Thursday.
Credit Kevin Dietsch / UPI /Landov
The Obama administration says lethal airstrikes, delivered stealthily by drones, have been a major success in its counterterrorism efforts. But the administration has been much less successful in keeping secret the details of the often controversial drone program.
We're going to head west now, from Egypt across Libya to Niger. The Pentagon has signed a deal with the government there. The agreement could allow the U.S. to establish a forward base in Niger so that it could operate drone aircraft across northern and western Africa. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been reporting on the U.S. military's growing presence on the continent. He joins me now here in the studio.
And Tom, how close is the U.S. to actually setting up a drone base in Niger?