A new report has revealed that US President Barack Obama’s administration accelerated a plan to institutionalize drone strikes before the recent presidential election, as the likelihood of Obama’s reelection was fading.
When the possibility of a victory for Mitt Romney increased before the election, the Obama administration embarked on an immediate course of action last summer to institutionalize the drone strikes and delineate clear standards and procedures for the targeted killings, two administration officials told the New York Times.
“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, noting that Obama was unwilling to leave an “amorphous” plan to his successor.
He pointed out that had Romney won the election, the plan would have been rushed into completion by January, but now the Obama administration will pursue the scenario at a slower pace.
The draft rule book of the plan is reportedly so highly-classified that it has been hand-carried among the respective agencies over the past months instead of being sent via email, another official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
The Times report added that at least 2500 people have lost their lives in more than 300 drone attacks since Obama took office in 2008.
The US government has even refused to acknowledge the existence of the drone program in Pakistan in the course of the lawsuits lodged by American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times seeking to challenge the legality of the targeted killings.
Washington uses its assassination drones in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia, claiming that they target militants while the attacks mostly lead to massive civilian casualties.
The United Nations has censured the US drone attacks as targeted killings, stressing that they flout international law.