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Posted at 11:19 PM ET, 09/22/2010

CIA drones killed U.S. citizens in Pakistan, book says

By Jeff Stein

CIA drones killed “many Westerners, including some U.S. passport holders” in Pakistan’s tribal area during the George W. Bush administration, the new book by Bob Woodward says.

Woodward,a longtime Washington Post journalist, writes in "Obama's Wars" that then-CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden disclosed the killings to Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari during a meeting in New York on Nov. 12, 2008. Hayden was succeeded by Leon J. Panetta in 2009.

Hayden and his deputy, Stephen Kappes, had gone to meet with Zardari, elected only two months earlier, to gauge his reaction to the drone strikes, which were generating widespread protests in Pakistan.

According to Woodward’s unattributed account of the meeting, Zardari said, “Kill the seniors. Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me.”

Hayden had told Zardari that “many Westerners, including some U.S. passport holders, had been killed five days earlier on the Kam Sham training camp in the tribal area of North Warziristan,” Woodward writes. “But the CIA would not reveal the particulars due to the implications under American law.”

“A top secret CIA map detailing the attacks had been given to the Pakistanis,” Woodward continues. “Missing from it was the alarming fact about the American deaths … The CIA was not going to elaborate.”

The CIA declined to comment for the record or make Kappes, who resigned in April, available for comment. Hayden did not respond to requests for comment.

On Friday the Justice Department faces a deadline to respond to a suit by two human rights groups challenging the Obama administration’s right to kill U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical proselytizer based in Yemen.

correction: Deadline to respond was first erroneously reported as Thursday.

By Jeff Stein  | September 22, 2010; 11:19 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Justice/FBI  | Tags:  Asif Ali Zardari, Leon J. Panetta, Michael Hayden, Steven Kappes  
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Men training in a terrorist camp who happened to have US passports were killed. So what? Would it have made any difference if they had gotten into a fire fight with US soldiers and been killed? If you take up arms against your own country, then you make yourself a legitimate military target.

Good shooting.

Posted by: hisroc | September 23, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

And when we find out that much of this activity was in support of opium production what then?

And when the members of families and friends of those killed, are likely to seek revenge for years to come, what then?

And what's with the lingo: "US passport holders"? Those are American citizens we are killing.

Posted by: brng | September 23, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

You're an American citizen running around a foreign country with terrorists committed to attacking our country and killing other Americans and you think what, that the drone should stop before launching a missile at you and say "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used in a court of law...."

Uh, how about not hanging around in dangerous parts of Pakistan or taking up arms against your country? That's a pretty simple solution to the problem. You don't shoot at other Americans, other Americans won't shoot at you. This is not a difficult concept to grasp.

Posted by: Bob22003 | September 23, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

You don't shoot at other Americans, other Americans won't shoot at you. This is not a difficult concept to grasp.

Posted by: Bob22003 | September 23, 2010 11:46 AM

Due process of law is not that difficult a concept to grasp either. But apparently it's beyond you.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | September 23, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

A lot of the deaths/killings have been "collateral damage" If there were extremists collaborating with the taliban then that's a different matter (ie those killed in a specific training camp).

Interestingly, the article touches upon collateral damage and my impression is that Americans have been killed OUTSIDE of the camps too and could have been collateral damage. This is more worrisome to me.

Pakistanis are upset when innocents are killed and weddings etc have been bombed.

Posted by: ZEES | September 23, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

they should have been somewhere safer like 'simple city'.

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | September 23, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse


Due process of law applies to law enforcement and judicial activities. There is no due process of law on the battlefield, just the law of land warfare. Under that law, those who are belligerent armed combatants are legitimate targets, regardless of their nationality. And in this war the battlefield is where ever we locate the enemy. When you have the enemy in your cross-hairs, you don't stop, demand to see his papers, and then arrest him with a Miranda warning if he happens to be an American citizen. You kill them all and let God sort them out.

Posted by: hisroc | September 23, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Zardari said said it all: “Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me.”

From the posts here and much of the public's reaction in general, Americans do not have the stomach for this war and it is doubtful that we have the stomach for any war. Maybe it is time for the United States to transition into being Canada or Sweden or some other nice, inoffensive developed backwater and leave the job that we've been doing for the last 100 years to the Chinese; heaven help us.

Posted by: lmmbham | September 23, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

why is the ACLU the Taliban lawyers? Oh wait, they are left-wing liberals...

Posted by: Rockvillers | September 23, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

The conflict with al Qaeda has developed over years. Nothing useful was even attempted during the Clinton administration to deal with a developing problem, with the attacks on the US or attacks on US forces (first attack on WTC, attack on US warship and embassies).

In February of 1998 bin Laden issued a declaration of war (or possibly a fatwa). It is at:

It contains the statement:
“The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it ...”

This clearly defines the battlefield that bin Laden will employ; it is the entire world.

In its wisdom, the US Senate voted in 2002 to give the senate's own authority to President Bush to make war. That they gave such a broad charter seems to me irresponsible, but even so the US was thereby committed to make war on al Qaeda.

Giving the power to make war is a serious and fearsome responsibility. In my estimation it was given too lightly and without defining specific war aims (one might argue that this aspect was outsourced to the French). It is not easily recalled.

The role of a military is preventative and protective, not judicial, and criticizing the president (either Mr. Bush or Mr. Obama) for taking seriously the responsibility they were so easily given is entirely wrong. Attempting to challenge them by citing such an inappropriate standard as due process or a trial by jury is to completely miss the consequence of the Senate's action.

Posted by: Peter22 | September 23, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

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