Singapore: Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Saturday suggested US lawmakers are kept fully informed about CIA
operations abroad, including widely reported drone bombing
raids on militants in Pakistan.
Asked about CIA accountability in conducting air strikes
in Pakistan, Gates avoided openly acknowledging the raids,
saying he could not "get into discussion of any kind of
But Gates, a former director of the spy agency, insisted
the Central Intelligence Agency and the US military was 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," he said at the
Shangri-La security conference in Singapore.
He spoke days after a UN human rights expert urged the
United States to sideline the CIA from targeted killings using
drones, warning that the practice amounted to "a licence to
kill without accountability".
In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, Philip
Alston, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions,
warned that the "prolific" use of targeted killings, mainly by
unmanned US aircraft, was setting a damaging example that
other countries would follow.
The US State Department has argued that targeted killings
abroad are legally justified, citing the principle of
self-defence under international law.