President Obama gave a speech to the National Defense University today that outlined his counterterrorism policy in general, and his administration’s policy on drones in particular. Deutsche Welle interviewed yours truly on the new policy:
Pejman Yousefzadeh, a Chicago-based lawyer who specializes in public policy, cautiously welcomed Obama’s initiative towards greater transparency, but questioned the efficacy of a new policy. “I don’t know if a blanket guideline is going to be as useful as bilateral diplomacy with the countries in question,” he told DW. “Some countries may privately welcome US intervention against terrorists, but have to condemn the US in public.”
Yousefzadeh is also concerned about accountability. “You can’t have a US president’s war policy that is completely free of congressional oversight,” he said.
To that end, Yousefzadeh thinks Obama would do better to establish a “Federal Intelligence Commission,” an independent regulatory agency that would review any targets the White House has identified. Though as commander in chief, the president would still be able to overrule such a commission’s findings, he would have to tell Congress he is doing so, making the program much more transparent and subject to a legal process.
My thoughts on the establishment and uses of a Federal Intelligence Commission are spelled out in my article on drone policy for the Atlantic Council, which was originally linked to here.