Panetta Stands Behind Legality of U.S. Actions in Pakistan

The CIA doesn’t admit it is launching drones into Pakistan but when This Week anchor Jake Tapper asked CIA Director Leon Panetta whether he would give his “personal assurance that everything the CIA is doing in Pakistan is compliant with US and international law,” Panetta was unequivocal.

“There’s no question that we are abiding by international law and the law of war,” Panetta said.

“We have a responsibility to defend this country and that’s what we’re doing,” the CIA director said. “And anyone who suggests that somehow, you know, we’re employing other tactics here that somehow violate international law are dead wrong,” he said with passion. “What we’re doing is defending this country. That’s what our operations are all about,” Panetta said.

Earlier this month, Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, released a report on drone strikes. In an accompanying statement he said: “In a situation in which there is no disclosure of who has been killed, for what reason, and whether innocent civilians have died, the legal principle of international accountability is, by definition, comprehensively violated.”

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