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May 1, 2012

Obama adviser says murderous CIA drone strikes are 'legal and ethical'

Margaret Talev, Nicole Gaouette | Bloomberg News

White House counter terrorism adviser John Brennan said drone strikes are legal and ethical against al-Qaeda forces, which he described as “legitimate military targets” in armed conflict against the U.S.

Marking the anniversary of the killing of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in Pakistan, Brennan said the strikes are used only in cases of a “significant threat.”

“There is nothing in international law that bans the use of remotely piloted aircraft for this purpose or that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battlefield,” Brennan said at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington.

In the aftermath of bin Laden’s death a year ago this week, Brennan said al-Qaeda has been weakened, describing the core leadership as “a shadow of its former self.” Bin Laden organized the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington in which almost 3,000 people were killed.

“Morale is low, with intelligence indicating that some members are giving up and returning home, no doubt aware that this is a fight they will never win,” Brennan said. “In short, al-Qaeda is losing, badly. And bin Laden knew it.”

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