White House Vows Americans Will Never Be Target Of Terror Raids
The White House appeared to rule out the deliberate targeting of Americans in anti-terror operations Tuesday, in what could be a step away from the...
The White House appeared to rule out the deliberate targeting of Americans in anti-terror operations Tuesday, in what could be a step away from the previous administration's hardline policy.
"No American citizen will ever be targeted," said White House spokesman Sean Spicer, amid questions about whether a recent raid in Yemen killed an eight-year-old American girl.
Former president Barack Obama sparked legal challenges and political outrage by ordering the 2011 killing of American citizen and senior Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al Awlaqi.
Awlaqi's son Abulrahman was killed two weeks later in a similar drone attack.
Obama's lawyers rejected arguments that the killing was unconstitutional and insisted it was the only way to neutralize a looming threat to the US homeland.
Now Trump's White House is facing questions about a raid in Yemen on Sunday by US special operations forces, which killed at least 14 suspected jihadists and a US Navy SEAL.
The assault marked Washington's first major military action under Trump.
A Yemeni provincial official gave a higher toll of 41 presumed militants and 16 civilians killed in the raid, including eight women and eight children.
A relative said that among the children killed in the raid was al-Awlaqi's daughter, Nura, who lived with the family of her maternal uncle.
Spicer said Trump "had a very somber and lengthy conversation with the family of Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens," the Navy SEAL killed in the raid.
Trump had previously advocated the killing of militants' families. In December 2015 he told Fox News: "The other thing with terrorists is you have to take out their families."
Spicer did not say whether that was still Trump's position.
"I think he's been very clear that when it comes to seeking out ISIS and other terrorists that he's going to lean on (CIA) Director (Mike) Pompeo, (Secretary of Defense) General (James) Mattis and seek their opinion on stuff," Spicer said.