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Under Obama, a Force of Killer Drones Evolved

Semi-secret assassination program has expanded greatly in his term
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2011 11:59 AM CST

(Newser) – In the five years before President Obama took office, America’s drones launched 44 strikes, all confined to Pakistan, killing about 400 people. But during his Oval Office tenure there have been almost 240 strikes, killing at least four times as many people, and the US has built dozens of secret drone facilities, with bases in at least six countries, the Washington Post reports, in an in-depth look into what it terms Obama’s “emerging global apparatus for drone killing.” Though the technology was already developing under President George W Bush, Obama has greatly expanded its use.

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Obama's inner circle is reportedly enamored of the mechanical assassins, especially Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, and John Brennan. The only top adviser critical of the program, Donald Blair, has been fired. One former official says Obama himself was “oddly passive” on the program, but a senior administration official disputes that. There’s also scant oversight. Because the CIA and military split up the strikes, and use separate kill lists, no congressional committee has a complete picture of the campaign. The Obama official says that will be fixed—“It’s certainly not something where the goal is to evade oversight." (Read more Obama administration stories.)

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