After President Obama announced his initiatives to “facilitate transparency and debate” on the issue of increased drone use overseas last week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he is “not in a position to confirm” recent reported drone activities.
Multiple reports have stated that a top Pakistani militant, believed to be the second highest ranking Al Qaeda member, was killed by a U.S. drone early Wednesday morning in Pakistan.
From the Associated Press:
A suspected U.S. drone strike killed the No. 2 commander of the Pakistani Taliban on Wednesday, Pakistani intelligence officials said, although the militant group denied he was killed.
If confirmed, the death of Waliur Rehman would be a strong blow to the militant group responsible for hundreds of bombings and shootings across Pakistan. The United States has a $5 million bounty out on Rehman, who Washington has accused of involvement in the 2009 suicide attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan that killed seven Americans working for the CIA.
Missiles fired by a U.S. drone slammed into a house early Wednesday in Miran Shah, the main town of the North Waziristan tribal region, killing four people including Rehman, three Pakistani officials said.
When asked about the strikes in the region, Carney refused to confirm any U.S. involvement or the death of Rehman. Carney simply reiterated the atrocities that Rehman was accused of overseeing and said that the President outlined guidelines for drone strikes for the American people.
“As part of his commitment to transparency, the President’s speech at NDU laid out the legal and policy standards that guide our actions at great length — against whom and under what circumstances we take direct action,” Carney said. “That does not mean,” he added, “that we would be able to discuss the details of every counterterrorism operation.”
Carney praised the President’s initiative to make the “standards” that guide U.S. drone policy “public” but offered no public confirmation that any drone strikes were carried out. According to Agence France-Presse, the CIA has also refused to confirm Rehman’s death or any U.S. involvement in Pakistan.
Watch Carney fend off the Associated Press’ inquiries and praise the President’s transparency below: