US open to cooperating with UN probe into drone strikes

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The investigation is being led by the U.N.'s special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson of Great Britain, and Christof Heyns of South Africa, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The probe comes as President Obama's counterterrorism strategy of beefed-up drone strikes is coming under increased scrutiny both in the United States and abroad. A study by human-rights researchers at Stanford University and New York University published in September concluded that they kill far more civilians than commonly acknowledged and haven't made America any safer.

But the administration has defended the use of drones as an effective force, recently expanding their use to northern Yemen in October, where strikes killed three suspected al Qaeda members.