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April 24, 2013

White House defends decision to not send witness to drone hearing

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday that the Obama administration is keeping Congress informed about its top-secret targeted killing program despite its decision to not send witnesses to the first open Senate hearing on the issue.

"We have been in regular contact with the committee about how we can best provide them the information that they require," he said. "As the president has indicated, we will continue to engage Congress and to ensure that our counterterrorism efforts are not only consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but even more transparent to the American people and the world." 

President Barack Obama has vowed to be more forthcoming about a counterterrorism weapon that has become a despised symbol of U.S. foreign policy in many parts of the world.

On Tuesday, Democratic and Republican senators urged the administration to make public more information about the program amid questions about the legality and effectiveness of hundreds of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere.

"The fact is that this administration, beginning with the president, and including some of the most senior national security principals, have been enormously transparent about our counterterrorism efforts, and that process, as promised by the president, will continue," Carney said. "I'm saying that the process of providing more information -- again, unprecedented levels thus far from the highest levels of government and the process of providing more information, both to Congress and to the public, is ongoing and will continue. And it's not limited to or specific to a single hearing."
When asked when those efforts would be made public, Carney said: "I don't have any updates for you."

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