US mulls over drone strike against its citizen in Pakistan

US mulls over drone strike against its citizen in Pakistan

flWASHINGTON: The Obama administration is considering authorizing the CIA or the military to kill an American citizen allegedly hiding in tribal areas of Pakistan.

According to US newspaper New York Times, the Us citizen, whose identity is not disclosed, is allegedly involved in helping Al Qaeda militants plan attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Official said the man is actively plotting future attacks.

The report said Obama administration is debating whether to authorize a lethal strike against an American citizen living in Pakistan.

The identity of the American Al-Qaeda militant and his location remain secret, as officials fear revealing that information would lead him to go deeper into hiding and derail a potential drone missile strike. US intelligence agencies and the Pentagon declined to comment on the reports.

Under new guidelines handed down by Obama last May, a decision to use lethal force against an American overseas has to be based on “a continuing, imminent threat to US persons” and only if capturing the terror suspect is “not feasible.”

According to the media reports, two officials said the American was an Al-Qaeda operative who has been directly responsible for attacks against US citizens abroad and who continues to plan attacks using homemade bombs.

The Justice Department reportedly was still working to build a case against the American Al-Qaeda member, which would be required for any decision to go ahead.

The new rules for drone strikes came in for criticism last week from the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers of Michigan, who accused the administration last week of undermining counter-terrorism efforts.

“Individuals who would have been previously removed from the battlefield by US counterterrorism operations for attacking or plotting to attack against US interests remain free because of self-imposed red tape,” Rogers said.

Obama approved new guidelines after coming under fire for approving the targeting of another US citizen, radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in September 2011.

Three other Americans have been killed in counter-terror strikes but were not intentionally targeted, US officials admitted last year.
Human rights groups say the drone strike program remains shrouded in secrecy and lacks clear legal limits.

“The public and most members of Congress are still completely in the dark about where the US claims authority to strike, the legal rules, and the identity of those already killed,” Amnesty International USA’s Naureen Shah said in a statement.

US officials defend the program as carefully regulated and say the strikes have weakened Al-Qaeda s core leadership while reducing the threat of an attack on US soil. Islamabad does not allow the U.S. military to operate in its territory. The US has launched hundreds of lethal missile strikes in tribal areas of Pakistan since 2004, with Islamabad publicly criticizing the campaign. The Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 sparked outrage in the country

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