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Drone debate in Washington heats up

An MQ-1B Predator from the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron takes off from Balad Air Base in Iraq, in this file photo taken on June 12, 2008. (Reuters/U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter)

As the Star's Mitch Potter wrote Saturday at the beginning of our series on drones, the U.S. capital is buzzing this week as the confirmation hearings for John Brennan, President Barack Obama's nominee for CIA director and as counterterrorism adviser was the "architect of Obama's aggressive drone war," begin.

“It will be important that after eight years of using the technology in various not-so-covert operations, from Pakistan to Yemen, Congress will finally discuss it in a hearing,” Brookings Institution security analyst Peter W. Singer, a leading expert on changes in 21st-century warfare, told Potter.

There will be a lot to discuss. Earlier this week, NBC investigative reporter Michael Isikoff leaked an unclassified Department of Justice memo laying out the legal framework for the government's ability to kill U.S. citizens.

Then the New York Times, first, and the Washington Post reported on Tuesday night the location of a secret drone base operated by the CIA in Saudi Arabia.

According to the Post, media organizations had known about the base for more than a year but had an informal agreement not to disclose the location. The Associated Press reported that the location was first disclosed by the New York Times.

MORE: Drone warfare



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