- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A panel of national security experts, led by former commander of U.S. Central Command General John P. Abizaid and Georgetown Professor Rosa Brooks, former counselor to the undersecretary of defense for policy, condemned the president’s drone policy in a new report released in June.

“From the perspective of many around the world, the United States currently appears to claim, in effect, the legal right to kill any person it determines is a member of al Qaeda or its associated forces, in any state on Earth, at any time, based on secret criteria and secret evidence, evaluated in a secret process by unknown and largely anonymous individuals—with no public disclosure of which organizations are considered ‘associated forces’ (or how combatant status is determined, or how the United States defines ‘participation in hostilities’), no means for anyone outside that secret process to raise questions about the criteria or validity of the evidence and no means for anyone outside that process to identify or remedy mistakes or abuses,” a portion of the study reads.

The Atlantic reported Wednesday that the panel included “a former head of Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan; a former senior associate counsel to the president and legal adviser to the National Security Council; a former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs; a former Navy pilot; a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans and Air Force pilot; a former undersecretary of commerce for industry and security; a former deputy director at both the FBI and CIA; and a former general counsel of the CIA.”

The panel zeroed in on the lack of transparency surrounding the drone strikes, noting that the targeted-killing program in its current form threatens America’s constitutional republic, as the U.S. “has been fighting … a covert, multiyear killing program. Without additional information, the citizenry cannot evaluate U.S. targeted strikes.”

The Atlantic author Conor Friedersdorf said that when individuals “disposed to think the best of the CIA, the military and the executive branch” take an administration to task in such a manner, that it has become a “time to worry.”

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