Obama agrees to share classified drone info with Congress
From Lalit K Jha
Washington, Feb 7 (PTI) In an extraordinary action, the US President Barack Obama has decided to share the classified information over "legal advice" authorising the use of drones to kill the American citizens abroad, a senior administration official has said.
"Today, as part of the President''s ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters, the President directed the Department of Justice to provide the Congressional Intelligence committees access to classified Office of Legal Counsel advice related to the subject of the Department of Justice White Paper," an official said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak on such sensitive matters.
Obama is understood to have personally made this decision yesterday because he believes that this scrutiny and debate is healthy and because he wants the US Congress to be a part of his administration''s efforts to build a durable legal framework for the country''s counter-terrorism efforts.
Obama''s move comes following repeated demand by US lawmakers in this regard.
Earlier during his daily press conference, the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued that Obama takes a very serious approach to these matters and has two responsibilities in mind- his absolute responsibility under the Constitution to protect the United States and its citizens and his responsibility of carrying out the first one in consistence with Constitution and its laws and values.
"He (Obama) thinks that it is legitimate to ask questions about how we prosecute the war against Al Qaeda. It is his belief that we need to move forward with more transparency, as well as create, in his words, a legal framework around how these decisions are made, that has led to, unprecedented levels of information provided to the public about how we do this," he said.
"The President fully expects that that process will continue, because these are issues that he believes are very important. It is also his high responsibility to perform that function in a way that is consistent with who we are, our values, and the Constitution, and he believes that it''s wholly legitimate to examine these issues and to have conversations about them," he said.
Last year, the US President in an interview had called for putting a legal architecture in place, Carney pointed out.
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