- 2 updates
President Obama has faced concerted pressured from both the left and right to allow greater scrutiny of the secret decision-making process for using drones overseas. He said earlier this year he wanted to be more open about how the drone war is conducted.
Ahead of the speech the administration has formally acknowledged for the first time that it had killed four Americans in counter-terrorism operations in Yemen and Pakistan since 2009, including militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
It had been known that three Americans had been killed in drones strikes in overseas counter-terrorism but the government's top lawyer, Attorney General Eric Holder, disclosed details that had remained secret.
President Barack Obama is to explain the rationale for US drone strikes in a speech later.
"He will discuss why the use of drone strikes is necessary, legal, and just, while addressing the various issues raised by our use of targeted action," a White House official said.
The speech will coincide with the signing of new "Presidential Policy Guidance" to lay out standards for lethal drone strikes.
Obama will also reiterate his pledge to close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where foreign terrorism suspects are held and "announce a number of specific steps to advance that goal," the official said.