Obama to speak on legality of drone program

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will discuss the legality of his administration’s secret drone program and other counterterrorism practices during a speech Thursday, a White House official said.

Obama’s speech will be an attempt to fulfill his State of the Union pledge to be more “transparent” with the public about the controversial drone program that has become the centerpiece of the White House’s efforts to combat terrorism.

The official said Obama would also use Thursday’s address at the National Defense University to discuss efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The president had vowed to renew those efforts despite being thwarted in his attempts to close the prison during his first term.

Obama had been ready to deliver the speech earlier this month, the official said, but it was delayed amid a series of distracting events. Among them: hunger strikes at Guantanamo and the Justice Department’s subpoena of phone records from journalists at The Associated Press.

Civil liberties groups and an unusual coalition of Democratic and Republican lawmakers have criticized the White House for keeping most details of the drone program secret. Particularly concerning for these critics has been the administration’s rare use of drones to kill American citizens overseas.

The administration is expected to increase its use of drones and other counterterrorism techniques as the war in Afghanistan winds to a close at the end of 2014 and the vast majority of U.S. troops return home.

The official was authorized to discuss the talk only on grounds of anonymity since Obama had yet to deliver it. Plans for the speech were first reported by The Washington Post.

More in Local News

Army nurse from Everett has vivid memories of ‘forgotten war’

Barbara Jean Nichols, 95, served near the front lines in Korea and Vietnam, and in Germany.

In county overdose crisis, nasal spray has saved 100 lives

About 900 local law enforcement officers have been trained to use naloxone to revive opioid users.

Second former student files abuse claim against teacher

The woman says Cascade High School’s Craig Verver had sexual contact with her on campus.

Man arrested after allegedly threatening people near EvCC

The community college was briefly on lockdown Thursday morning.

Edmonds to add bike lanes in two areas

Crews will begin the first phase of work Thursday and Friday, weather permitting.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Woman injured after losing control of her pickup

A 50-year-old woman was injured Tuesday after her pickup lost… Continue reading

Freshwater invertebrates found in local water bodies

Bryozoans are tiny invertebrates that live in jelly-like masses, and their presence is a good thing.

Front Porch

EVENTS Sk8 Fest returns to Arlington The Centennial Sk8 Festival celebrating longboards… Continue reading

Most Read