On the eve of a major address by President Barack Obama on his counterterrorism policy, the Obama administration revealed Wednesday that drone strikes since 2009 had killed four Americans overseas – one of whom, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was targeted in Yemen because he’d planned and was planning terrorist attacks on the United States – principally the plot to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Eve 2009.
Three others who were not “specifically targeted” were killed in circumstances the administration did not explain.
The revelation came in a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to congressional leaders and chairmen of key congressional committees in which Holder said, “the president has directed me to disclose to you certain information” about the number of Americans killed by U.S. counterterrorism operations outside of areas of active combat such as Afghanistan.
Holder said the U.S. government was “aware of three other U.S. citizens who have been killed in such U.S. counterterrorism operations over that same time period (since 2009): Samir Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi, and Jude Kenan Mohammed. These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States.”
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