Wolves Circle the CIA’s Predator Program

Posted on June 07, 2010

In today’s Washington Post, I discuss how the political winds are already shifting when it comes to the CIA’s Predator program. Having brought down the agency’s high-value interrogation program, the Left has now begun agitating to stop the drone attacks that are taking out high-ranking al Qaeda leaders, and to lay the groundwork to prosecute those authorizing and conducting them.

For years, the drone program got a pass as critics lashed out at the agency’s interrogation program. In my book, Courting Disaster, I quote one former CIA official who regularly briefed Congress, and described how he would show members of Congress videos of Predator strikes, and they would cheer the scenes of destruction—and then moments later grill and berate him over the agency’s interrogation methods. Former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo pointed out in a recent speech that at the very same time the agency was waterboarding Abu Zubaydah and KSM, the CIA was also carrying out lethal operations against terrorists—yet “there was never, ever, as far as I could discern, any debate, discussion, questioning on moral or legal grounds about the efficacy of the United States targeting and killing terrorists.”

Now that questioning has begun. Last week, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, issued a report which says that CIA officials involved in the drone program may be in legal jeopardy. Why? Because outside of Afghanistan and Iraq we cannot use tools of war for what is essentially a law enforcement matter. Alston writes that the United States may have “unilaterally extend[ed] the law of armed conflict to situations that are essentially matters of law enforcement,” and says that “outside the context of armed conflict, the use of drones for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal.”

This is the crux of the Left’s case against the drones. Predator strikes may be lawful inside the confines of acknowledged war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. But beyond the borders of these countries, the war on terror is really not a war at all—it is a law enforcement operation. As the ACLU put it in a letter to President Obama, “The entire world is not a war zone, and wartime tactics that may be permitted on the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be deployed anywhere in the world where a terrorism suspect happens to be located.” Note the law enforcement term “terrorism suspect.”

Read Full Article

What They're Saying

An important book Rquotest
Senator John Cornyn
Absolutely superb! Rquotest
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey
One of the most important books of the year. Courting Disaster is a must-must-read. Rquotest
Michelle Malkin (michellemalkin.com)
A terrific and important book Rquotest
Debra Burlingame, (sister of AA Flight 77 pilot Charles Burlingame)
[Thiessen is] the most forceful, serious and articulate new spokesman for hardliners around – one who can back up his opinions with facts that can influence the debate. Rquotest
William Safire
In Courting Disaster, Marc Thiessen sets the record straight. Rquotest
Donald Rumsfeld
You Must Read Courting Disaster. Rquotest
Former CIA Director Mike Hayden
If you want to know what really happened … at the CIA interrogation sites or at Guantanamo Bay, you simply must read this book Rquotest
Dick Cheney


RT @JedediahBila: Lamb has as much trouble using the word "terrorists" as Obama does. rquo
Posted on Twitter over 6 years ago
RT @michellemalkin: MT @dangerroom: State Department: We Monitored Libya Attack 'In Almost Real-Time' (So why'd they blame protesters?) ... rquo
Posted on Twitter over 6 years ago
RT @RedState: Donald Rumsfeld: Obama’s Handling Of Libya “Embarrassing” http://t.co/Vtbkf26e #TCOT #RS rquo
Posted on Twitter over 6 years ago


Sign up to receive email updates from Marc Thiessen


Other Projects

oval office writers