- The Washington Times - Monday, April 30, 2012

John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, publicly acknowledged on Monday that the U.S. has conducted targeted airstrikes against terrorists, also known as drone attacks.

U.S. officials have been loath to acknowledge the secret drone strikes, even though they are widely reported as American operations.

In a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, Mr. Brennan said the strikes are legal under U.S. and international law, adding that they are ethical and wise since they result in fewer civilian casualties and less U.S. military involvement.

“We are a nation of laws, and we will always act within the law,” he said.

Because of such counterterrorism efforts, al Qaeda has had trouble replacing leaders, attracting new recruits and planning attacks, Mr. Brennan said.

Al Qaeda is losing badly,” he said. “As the al Qaeda core falters, it continues to look to its affiliates.”

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch, continues to be the terror network’s most active affiliate and to seek opportunities to attack the U.S. homeland, Mr. Brennan said.

“It would be a mistake to believe this threat has passed,” he said.