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Thu May 23, 2013
Reports: Obama To Limit Drones, Urge Action On Guantanamo
Ahead of his much-anticipated speech Thursday afternoon at the National Defense University, there's word that President Obama:
-- Will announce he's going to "sharply curtail the instances when unmanned aircraft can be used to attack in places that are not overt war zones, countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia," The New York Times says. It adds that "the rules will impose the same standard for strikes on foreign enemies now used only for American citizens deemed to be terrorists."
Word about what the president may say follows the administration's acknowledgement Wednesday that four U.S. citizens have been killed by drone strokes "far outside traditional battlefields," as NPR's Carrie Johnson reported for us.
-- Plans to renew his effort to close the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On Morning Edition, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reported that the president is "expected to appoint someone whose sole responsibility will be to move detainees out of Guantanamo."
The Miami Herald adds that it has been told by a White House official that "the president will reiterate his strong commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantánamo as a part of our effort to align our counter-terrorism strategy with our values." According to that official, the speech will include "a number of specific steps to advance that goal."
NPR's Scott Horsley reminds our Newscast Desk that "lawmakers have so far blocked efforts to move Guantanamo prisoners to the U.S. But White House spokesman Jay Carney suggests there may be options to move them elsewhere."
The Wall Street Journal has reported that it's been told by "U.S. officials" that the president plans in coming weeks "to lift the administration's prohibition on sending detainees to Yemen."
On Morning Edition, Daphne Eviatar of the advocacy group Human Rights First said "it should not be a major problem for the United States to develop a process by which it could transfer detainees to Yemen." According to our colleague Dina, "officials say the president will say as much in his address."
The president is due to speak at 2 p.m. ET. The White House will be webcasting, and we'll watch for news and update.