Tags: Al-Qaida | America's Forum | drones | Kyle Shideler | us | intelligence

Drone Deaths of Hostages Highlight Lack of Human Intelligence

By    |   Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 01:17 PM

The deaths of two civilian hostages killed during U.S. drone strikes in January illustrate the limitations of electronic and video surveillance, Kyle Shideler, director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy, said Thursday on Newsmax TV.

"Unfortunately, that is primarily the fault of this administration, which has limited other intelligence-gathering efforts, most especially the detainee program in Guantanamo, which they're endeavoring to close and the termination of the interrogation program," said Shideler, who was joined by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz on "America’s Forum."

"Without the ability to confirm on the ground from captured fighters, you're left with what the intelligence community ended up doing in this case, which was around the clock surveillance of this compound, hoping to see who came and who went and who was associated with it."

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"Unfortunately for us and for the families of the hostages, they didn't see any indication that this was a location where hostages were being held," Shideler said. "If you don't have any other intelligence resource other than the drone video, you're going to have accidents and unfortunate situations like this."

The White House announced Thursday that an American and an Italian being held hostage by al-Qaida were killed in the strikes along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border at locations the U.S. had determined was an al-Qaida compound.

Terrorists abducted the American, Warren Weinstein, a 73-year-old working with the United States Agency for International Development, in Pakistan in 2011. The Italian victim was Giovanni Lo Porto, who had been held by al-Qaida since 2012.

President Obama likely opted not to mention in his remarks that two American members of al-Qaida — Ahmed Farouq and Adam Gadahn — were also killed in the drone strikes because the issue of targeting Americans associated with al-Qaida and with drone strikes "has been controversial for the president in the past," Shideler said.

"He was probably not interested in drawing any more attention to that aspect of this story than it was strictly necessary."

Dershowitz called the president’s omission "foolish."

"We are entirely entitled to kill anybody who is a combatant against the United States, it doesn't matter what his citizenship is," he said. "It's absurd and almost racist to say that we should have different standards for killing combatants who are not Americans and combatants who are Americans.

"During the World War II, we killed dozens and dozens of American citizens of German decent who had signed up to fight with the Nazis. We should not be apologetic about that," Dershowitz said. "It's a good thing that these two terrorists were killed. The fact that they were Americans only makes it worse. They were guilty of treason in addition to all their other crimes."

According to CNN, American-born Gadahn, 36, was raised on a farm in rural California and moved in with his paternal grandparents, who were Jewish, at age 18. Three years after his 1995 conversion to Islam, he moved to Pakistan.

Gadahn, also known as Adam Pearlman, rose to become a translator and key propagandist for al-Qaida, NBC News reported.

Farouq held a leadership role in al-Qaida as well.

Neither man had been intentionally targeted in the drone strikes, according to the White House, which said the U.S. was unaware that they were present at the site of the operations.

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The deaths of two civilian hostages killed during U.S. drone strikes in January illustrate the limitations of electronic and video surveillance, Kyle Shideler, director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy, said Thursday on Newsmax TV.
drones, Kyle Shideler, us, intelligence
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2015-17-23
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 01:17 PM
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