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Top State Dept. Lawyer Defends Legality Of Drone Strikes

In a little noticed speech last week, State Dept. Legal Advisor Harold Koh for the first time outlined, and ardently defended, the legal basis for the use of lethal drone attacks against terror targets.

In a keynote address to the American Society of International Law on March 25, Koh says “that it is the considered view of this Administration—and it has certainly been my experience during my time as Legal Adviser—that U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war.”

Koh, a former human rights lawyer and dean of Yale Law, argues that drone attacks are justified in the interest of national self-defense against terror targets.

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