The use of unmanned aircraft in the fight against terrorism is "legal, ethical and wise", the White House has said, defending the decision of the Obama administration to use drones as a key tool against Al Qaeda terrorists.
"We have acknowledged that sometimes we use remotely piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific Al Qaeda terrorists in order to prevent attacks on the United States and to save American lives," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.
"We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats, to stop plots, prevent future attacks, and, again, save American lives. These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise. The US government takes great care in deciding to pursue an Al Qaeda terrorist to ensure precision and to avoid loss of innocent life," Carney said.
He said the Congress has authorised the use of all necessary military force in the fight against Al Qaeda.
"What you have in general with the Al Qaeda senior leadership is a continuing process of plotting against the United States and American citizens, plotting attacks against the United States and American citizens. I think that is fairly irrefutable.
"What you also have is the authorisation for the use of military force by Congress. You also have a President who is very mindful of the very questions that you are asking and is, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, taking all the necessary steps to ensure that he fulfills his constitutional obligation to protect the United States and its citizens, and does so in a way that comports with our Constitution and with our laws," he said in response to a question.
Carney argued that someone who takes up arms against the United States is an enemy and therefore could be targeted accordingly.
"That is I think established in a number of cases. So, having said that, the issues here are important and the President recognises that. That's why he has authorised various senior administration officials to discuss publicly these issues the way that they have, and why I believe that process will continue," said the White House press secretary.