Conflict & Justice

Drone rulebook was in the works leading up to the US election, report finds


A Pakistani protester holds a burning US flag as they shout slogans during a protest in Multan on February 9, 2012 against the US drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region.



Obama's administration was working on an official US drone policy leading up to the election, a New York Times report has found

The president and his top aides, fearing a possible Romney win, were reportedly rushing to codify procedures on targeting terrorists with unmanned drones, compiled on a so-called "kill list."

“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” one White House official told the New York Times, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an 'amorphous' program to his successor," the New York Times wrote.

More from GlobalPost: Special Report: The Drone Wars

Though the push for legislation and rules about drones has slowed down since the President's re-election, it is nonetheless remains important, especially as tension amongst government offices about the best way to handle strikes persists, Stars and Stripes reported

The US military and the CIA each conduct their own drone strikes, but the different factions of the White House disagree on certain aspects of their use, such as using deadly force on unidentified targets, the Times pointed out.

The rule book is currently in the editing and vetting process, which is now less frenetic as Obama heads into his second term. 

The President has rarely spoken outright about the United States' drone policy, though he did mention it when he appeared on The Daily Show October 18: 

The US has hit Pakistan with 319 strikes total since their drone program began in 2004, according to the Long War Journal. 309 of those strikes have taken place since Obama took office in January 2008.

[View the story "Obama's administration moved to codify drone policy" on Storify]