The US Counter-Terrorism policy, explained on orders from the White House

Watch this press briefing at the White House on 23 April — following President Obama’s announcement that it had just been realized that two hostages [one American, one Italian] had been inadvertently killed in a US strike “in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region” in January…

In the briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that “Our CounterTerrorism people follow *Near-Certainty* standards” to carry out an operation, and then evaluate it later using a *high-confidence* battle-damage assessment [[drawin on multiple sources of intel] …

He explained that *Near-Certainty* standards mean “that it was an Al Qaeda compound frequented by an al-Qaeda leader + that civilans wouldn’t be hurt”…

[The *Near-Certainty” standards are described in this link, a White House Fact Sheet Tweeted by @MicahZenko = “US Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities”

All these *Near-Certainty* standards were observed, and yet two hostages [that the US did not even know were on the site] were killed, so there will now be some kind of reassessment to see how such ops could be improved, Earnest indicated.

But these ops will not be stopped, Earnest said: “These CT [CounterTerrorism] ops, which are critical to the nationale security of the US and to the safety of American people, will continue”…

Comments from Twitter

The Associated Press @AP – Italy official seeks to explain to Parliament why it took 3 months to learn of hostage death from US drone strike

New York Times World @nytimesworld – It’s become clear that when drone operators fire missiles, they often don’t know who they’re killing.

Dan Froomkin @froomkin – .@JameelJaffer’s troubling questions on drones: …

Jameel Jaffer @JameelJaffer · .@ACLU reaction to White House #drone-strike disclosures this morning: …

Jameel Jaffer retweeted
Letta Tayler @lettatayler · Must-read @nytimes: every independent probe of #drone strikes finds “far more civilian casualties than #US admits.”

Hina Shamsi @HinaShamsi · Worth asking what White House means by “independent” review that government itself is conducting into drone deaths …

Hina Shamsi @HinaShamsi · Apr 23
Remembering Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, 16 y.o. American drone victim, whose family did not get an apology, investigation …

Dan Froomkin @froomkin · Drones and cyber mean you can have secret wars now. But secret wars and democracy don’t go together. One has to go.

Dan Froomkin @froomkin · “Thursday’s disclosures undercut years of US claims about the accuracy of the drone program”

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · Today, Obama admitted the US doesn’t know who it is killing with drones.

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · Reminder: Practice of “signature strikes” by drones again unknown individuals (or compounds) began in 2008.

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · It’s not US policy to kill anonymous males, and hope months later to determine they probably were affiliated with terror groups.

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko – Eight US citizens killed in US drone strikes: Just one was the intended target.

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · 470+ innocent civilians have died in US drone strikes. Their families also deserve an apology and compensation.

Micah Zenko ?@MicahZenko – US drone strike policy doesn’t say a “compound” can pose an imminent threat.

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · White House anthropomorphizing a compound as being equal to to an Al Qaeda leader is a new low.

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · Obama absolutely prefers killing terror suspects rather than capturing them. Not even close.

Here is President Barak Obama’s announcement that two hostages were accidently killed in a US CT op in January, made shortly before the White House Press Secretary’s briefing:

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