Singapore: Rebutting reports regarding the Obama administration not being fully informed about the widely criticised Central Investigations Agency (CIA) operated drone attacks in Pakistan’s ungoverned tribal areas, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said that the US lawmakers are kept fully informed about the missile strikes.
Talking to reporters on the margins of the Shangri-La security conference here, Gates, though avoided any direct comment on the CIA’s accountability in conducting drone strikes in Pakistan, but said both the “CIA and the US military were fully accountable to Congress in all its operations.”
“I have no doubt whatsoever that the intelligence committees in the United States Congress are fully informed of the activities the CIA is carrying out,” The Daily Times quotes Gates, as saying.
Gates statement comes a day after a top UN official had asked Washington to stop the Predator drone attacks on militant hideouts inside Pakistan along the Afghan border, saying the practice amounted to “a licence to kill without accountability”.
In his report to the UN Human Rights Council, special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, warned that the “prolific” use of targeted killings, mainly by unmanned US aircraft, was setting a damaging example that other countries would follow.
Alston had criticised the secrecy of the CIA`s drone attacks, saying they have resulted in “the creation of a major accountability vacuum”.
“Remote attacks also led to a risk of developing a ‘Playstation’ mentality to killing,” he wrote in his report.