“We appreciate this publication, which confirms our concern that President Trump has removed even the minimum guarantees that President Obama has established in his rules for lethal strikes outside of recognized conflicts,” said Brett Max Kaufman, senior counsel for the ACLU.
The rules, titled “Principles, Standards and Procedures for Direct United States Action Against Terrorist Targets,” allow direct United States action against legally targeted terrorists “the removal of which, either independently or within the framework of of a broader campaign, is deemed reasonably necessary for US efforts to deal with the threat posed by the terrorist group. ”
“The United States will continue to take extraordinary measures to ensure with near certainty that non-combatants will not be injured or killed in operations, using all information and means of verification reasonably available,” the rules say. , before adding: the provisions of this section may be taken if necessary “in accordance with other laws and directives.
It is these “variations” that have given rise to concern.
“Across four administrations, the US government’s illegal deadly strike program has taken a horrific toll on Muslim, Brown and Black civilians in several parts of the world,” Kaufman said in the statement. “The covert and irresponsible use of lethal force is unacceptable in a rights-respecting democracy, and this agenda is the cornerstone of the” wars for ever “that President Biden is committed to ending. He must do so. “
But Thomas P. Bossert, who helped shape the rules as Trump’s counterterrorism adviser, defended them at The Times, saying, “They were informed by American values, the principles of the laws of armed conflict and designed to combat the real and current threat to America and its allies. “
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in December 2017 against the defense, justice and state departments after the Trump administration refused to make the rules public. Last fall, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to confirm or deny the existence of the rules.
“We will refer you to the previous administration to talk about their policies,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in an email to CNN on Saturday.