WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama is outlining a narrowing terror threat that still imperils the nation but is now defined by smaller networks and homegrown extremists rather than the grandiose plots of al-Qaida.
Speaking at the National Defense University today, Obama argued that changing threats require changes to the nation’s counterterrorism policies. He implored Congress to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba and pledged to allow greater oversight of the drone program. But he plans to keep the most lethal efforts with the unmanned aircraft under the control of the CIA.
Although the president is casting the drone program as crucial in the counterterror effort, he acknowledges targeted strikes are no “cure-all” and says he’s deeply troubled by the civilians unintentionally killed.
Obama announced new “presidential policy guidelines” on the standards his administration uses when deciding to launch drone strikes. According to an unclassified summary of the guidelines, the U.S. will not strike if a target can be captured, and a strike can be launched only against a target posing an “imminent” threat.