The United States government has acknowledged that four Americans were killed by counterterrorism drone strikes since 2009. The announcement was made in a letter written by Attorney General Eric Holder to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. In the letter, Holder stated that only one of the four was specifically targeted, but the administration were fully aware of the other three deaths.
Since 2009 the United States has been conducting counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and other associated forces outside of areas of active hostilities. These four deaths, that were kept classified until now, were apart of those operations in Yemen and Pakistan. Many conclusions can be drawn just by looking at the headline of “four Americans killed in drone strikes” but these so-called Americans were not friendly with the country that they were aligned.
The four individuals that were killed were clearly being labeled as associated with al Qaeda or other terror groups and actively planning to kill Americans. The one direct target of a drone strike on a U.S. citizen was Anwar al-Aulaqi, who was named as a senior operational leader of al Qaeda. In addition to various other planned attacks, al-Aulaqi was also involved in assisting the attempted attack of an airplane headed to Detroit on Christmas 2009.
Three others also killed were Samir Khan, Adul Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Kenan Mohammed. It’s being reported that Khan was killed in the same drone strike that killed al-Aulaqi, the 16-year-old son of al-Aulaqi was killed in a strike two weeks after his father and Mohammed was killed in another strike in Pakistan.
This is just the most current step taken by the Obama administration to keep the public updated on counterterorrism operations. President Obama made a pledge in the State of the Union to ensure more transparency to the American people and to the world in our country’s efforts to combat terrorism. That’s a pledge that will likely be reiterated by the president in a speech planned on Thursday.
Despite the letter, Holder agrees that there still may be some unanswered questions that may be addressed when the president speaks publicly about this and other counterterrorism efforts in the speech.
Not for nothin’ but the threat of terrorism is real. We recently faced a terror attack in Boston, but we are still at war with al Qaeda. If anything, it confirms that we should be more vigilant. Terrorist can and will come in all different shapes and forms. They could be European, Middle Eastern or American. At at times of war, it may not be opportune to capture enemies, but to use lethal force against anyone who poses a continuing, imminent threat to Americans. What’s the problem with that?