Tags: Afghanistan | Al-Qaida | Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Middle East | War on Terrorism | Jim Gilmore

Jim Gilmore: Obama Still Must Answer on Drone-Killings of Hostages

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Friday, 24 Apr 2015 05:51 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Although President Barack Obama took responsibility on Thursday morning for the CIA drone strike in January that accidentally killed two hostages, he still has serious questions to answer, says Jim Gilmore, Virginia’s former Republican governor.

Gilmore, who has worked in intelligence during parts of his public career, told Newsmax that the president "should demand to know all of the information that led to the drone strike" aimed at a gathering of al-Qaida figures in Pakistan which also took the lives of two hostages — kidnapped aid workers Warren Weinstein of Maryland and Giovanni Lo Porto of Italy.

"The president has said he takes full responsibility for the deaths of the hostages," Gilmore told us, "What does that mean? Are there any consequences to his responsibility? If we are saying that the collateral deaths are acceptable, then we should have a more open discussion of the nature of this new guerrilla war against the United States. After all, it is the president who injected this tragic event into the public forum.

"Someone should also ask the president if, in fact, he had known there were hostages at the compound near the Afghan border [where the strike occurred], would he have ordered the drone strike?"

Along with serving as a U.S. Army intelligence officer stationed in Germany, the Virginian was chairman of the Congressional Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Commonly known as the "Gilmore Commission" and staffed by the Rand Corporation, the panel studied terrorism from 1999-2003 and presented five reports to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

In discussing the drone strike and Obama's official remarks on it, Gilmore pointed out that "he’s doing what’s necessary, which is dealing with the collateral damage."

But, he added, "we’re not setting rules down and there is no policy being discussed on how to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. The only way it will not happen again is if we continue to pursue the best means of intelligence-gathering in the effort to stop the international guerrilla warfare that is being waged against us."

Although Gilmore has a record as a spokesman on civil liberties, the Virginian (who also served as his state’s attorney general from 1993-97) told us "you have to have some key rules on intelligence-gathering on what must stay classified. That’s why I called [renegade CIA whistleblower] Edward Snowden a traitor."

As to the suggestion that Congress vote on a declaration of war against terrorism — an idea that was seriously discussed on Capitol Hill after 9/11 but never pursued, Gilmore said:

"You can’t declare war on a tactic. We declare war on states. But that raises a new question: If, as has been reported, ISIS now in fact presides over a state of terrorism whose governance includes significant portions of Iraq and Syria, then how does ISIS think of itself? ISIS formerly saw itself as a perpetrator against nation-states and as part of a worldwide caliphate rather than a state.

"If it now thinks of itself as a state, then it certainly can be the subject of a declaration of war."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
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Although President Barack Obama took responsibility on Thursday morning for the CIA drone strike in January that accidentally killed two hostages, he still has serious questions to answer, says Jim Gilmore, Virginia's former Republican governor.
Jim Gilmore, Obama, drone, killings, hostages, American, Weinstein, Italian, answer, questions, responsibility, Lo Porto
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Friday, 24 Apr 2015 05:51 PM
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