White House Official Acknowledges Drone Strikes

White House counterterrorism official John Brennan has publicly acknowledged the covert practice of drone strikes against al-Qaida targets. It's the first time the Obama administration has described the widely known practice in detail.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The president's counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, made another statement yesterday. He argued that drone strikes to kill militants are legal.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Brennan's remarks were unusual. It's rare that the administration mentions drones at all. Yesterday, Brennan chose to say that the missile strikes by unmanned aircraft which take place in countries like Yemen and Pakistan fit within international law.

INSKEEP: Brennan admitted the drone strikes raised what he called profound moral questions. But he says they're ethical because they target military objectives. The use of drones has strained relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the strikes are often blamed for killing civilians.

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