Obama's 'kill list' dictates who the drones will strike

U.S. President Barack Obama personally oversees a "kill list" of individuals selected to be the target of unmanned aerial vehicle strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia in a highly secret manner that has baffled liberal supports, confounded conservative critics and given rise to calls for greater transparency in the shadow war the United States is waging with armed UAVs against al Qaeda, reports the New York Times.

The UAV strikes, which have amounted since April to 14 in Yemen, and 6 in Pakistan, have dealt a heavy blow to al Qaeda, but at the same time are serving as a rallying cry for new ranks of terrorists who allege that the strikes are killing innocent civilians.

Although the president has the final signoff on each assassination, the process of selecting the individuals who will be targeted for the attacks involves the participation of dozens of members of the U.S. government's national security apparatus who meet by secure video teleconferences run by the Pentagon to nominate who will be the next target or targets. These nominations in turn to go the White House, where with the assistance of counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, Obama must approve any by name.

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