Obama defends use of drone strikes

The administration’s drone policy was a key part of last week’s confirmation hearing for Obama’s CIA Director nominee John Brennan, who is currently the White House’s chief counterterrorism adviser and an architect of the drone policy.

Brennan pledged to work with Congress to allow oversight of the targeted killing program, after the White House told lawmakers it would release the full legal papers ahead of Brennan’s confirmation hearing.

Senators like Sen. Ron WydenRon WydenTrump's Democratic tax dilemma Senate Dems push Trump admin to protect nursing home residents' right to sue Overnight Finance: Trump-Russia probe reportedly expands to possible financial crimes | Cruel September looms for GOP | Senate clears financial nominees | Mulvaney reverses on debt ceiling MORE (D-Ore.) said they had been requesting those documents for more than a year.

“We have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts,” Obama said Tuesday, downplaying the congressional criticisms.

“I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we’re doing things the right way,” he said. “So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

Obama said that al Qaeda was today “a shadow of its former self.”

He noted that al Qaeda affiliates and other extremist groups have emerged from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa, and that the threat these groups pose is “evolving.”

But he said that instead of sending troops to countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia, the United States can help them provide for their own security, as well as continue taking “direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”