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.
Consistent with his commitment to being open and transparent with the American people, he will speak at length about the policy and legal rationale for how the United States takes direct action against al Qaeda and its associated forces, including with drone strikes.
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.
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.