White House spokesman Jay Carney rebuffed questions about whether President Obama had violated intelligence restrictions on the secret U.S. drone program in Pakistan when he openly discussed the subject.
Obama, speaking at an online town hall sponsored by Google, twice uttered the word “drones” as he explained their precise and “judicious” use against al-Qaeda targets. Asked if the president had made a mistake, Carney said he was “not going to discuss . . . supposedly covert programs.”
Obama was responding to “Evan in Brooklyn,” who said that the president had “ordered more drone attacks in your first year than your predecessor did in his entire term.”
The American Civil Liberties Union said that the CIA’s refusal to release information about drone killings was illegal.
When the CIA argued that even the “fact of the existence or non-existence” of such a program was classified, the ACLU responded that then-CIA Director Leon E. Panetta had spoken openly of U.S. “hits” and “strikes” against al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan.