Three years and thousands of deaths later, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama late Friday finally made public its guidelines for conducting lethal drone strikes.
The release of the Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG), also known as “the Playbook,” came in response to a lawsuit filed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seeking the framework—which Obama said at the time was created in the interest of greater transparency and oversight over the expansive targeted killing program.
“For the same human progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power—or risk abusing it,” the president declared in May 2013 during a landmark foreign policy speech at National Defense University.
Now, three years after that address, the redacted PPG finally provides the rights group with “crucial information about policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, including hundreds of non-combatants, and about the bureaucracy that the Obama administration has constructed to oversee and implement those policies,” said ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer in a statement on Saturday.
The long-awaited release will serve to “inform an ongoing debate about the lawfulness and wisdom of the government’s counterterrorism policies.” Further, coming amid the 2016 presidential election, the documents are “a timely reminder of the breadth of the powers that will soon be in the hands of another president,” Jaffer added.
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