"The United States has acknowledged that it uses lethal force, when appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States and to save American lives, but I reject any suggestion that the Administration somehow prefers killing terrorists to capturing them," said John Brennan, the top counter terrorism adviser to the US President.
Brennan said this in a written submission of answers to questions asked by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of his confirmation process for the post of CIA Director, the hearing for which was held last week.
"Our unqualified preference is to capture an individual rather than use lethal force, in part because we recognise that one of the best sources of intelligence comes from the interrogation of captured terrorists.
We only undertake lethal force when we determine that capture is not feasible," he said yesterday.
Brennan said while some terrorism suspects have refused to provide information in the criminal justice system, so have many held in military custody.
The top White House counter terrorism official said that the US does not believe that its authority to use military force against AL-QED and associated forces as being limited to "hot" battlefields like Afghanistan.
"Al-Qaeda and its associates have in the recent past directed several attacks against us from countries other than Afghanistan.
"The Government has a responsibility to protect its citizens from these attacks, and, thus, as the Attorney General has noted, "neither Congress nor our federal courts has limited the geographic scope of our ability to use force to the current conflict in Afghanistan," he said.
"This does not mean, however, that we use military force whenever or wherever we want. International legal principles, such as respect for another nation's sovereignty, constrain our ability to act unilaterally.
"Using force in another country is consistent with these international legal principles if conducted, for example, with the consent of the relevant nation - or if or when other governments are unwilling or unable to deal effectively with a threat to the United States," he stressed.
Washington: A top counter-terrorism adviser to the US President has strongly refuted allegations that Obama Administration prefers killing terrorists rather than capturing them.
First Published: Saturday, February 16, 2013, 11:28