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Avril Haines And The Future Of America's Drone Wars

Avril Haines, the director of National Intelligence, says the DNI must work in a way that is “ethical, is wise, is lawful and effective.” What does her work supporting the Obama administration’s drone program say about what she thinks is ethical and effective?  


Rita Siemion, director of National Security Advocacy at Human Rights First. She teaches courses on targeted killing, covert action and the law of armed conflict at Georgetown University Law Center and American University Washington College of Law. (@ritasiemion)

Chris Whipple, journalist and documentary filmmaker. Author of “The Spymasters” and “The Gatekeepers.” (@ccwhip)

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Iona Craig, freelance investigative journalist. She covered America’s drone campaign under the Obama and Trump administrations. (@ionacraig)

Book Excerpt

Excerpt from “The Spymasters” by Chris Whipple

An excerpt from “The Spymasters” By Chris Whipple. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be republished without permission from the publisher, Scribner.

From The Reading List

Vice: “A Yemeni Family Was Repeatedly Attacked by U.S. Drones. Now, They’re Seeking Justice” — “The day was supposed to be joyous. On December 12, 2013, the al Ameri and al Taisy families joined together in Yemen’s al Bayda province to celebrate the marriage of Abdullah Mabkhout al Ameri and his new wife Wardah al Taisy. During the traditional wedding procession from the bride’s home, a United States drone launched four missiles and killed 12 people.”

Business Insider: “Biden’s pick for US spy chief played a central role in Obama’s secretive drone war that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths” — “President-elect Joe Biden has received applause across the political spectrum over his picks for top foreign policy and national security roles in his incoming administration. But human rights groups and progressives have expressed concern about his choice for director of national intelligence (DNI), Avril Haines.”

Newsweek: “Avril Haines, The Least Likely Spy” — “The morning light was just breaking over Washington, D.C. At the White House, the early cleaning shift was already on the job. As Avril Haines walked through the quiet, darkened halls, she smiled and waved to a worker pushing a polishing machine, buffing the marble floors.”

The Daily Beast: “The Proxy War over Joe Biden Adviser Avril Haines” — “Deputy CIA Director Avril Haines restricted drone strikes and helped thousands of refugees, but enraged the left over torture. What does her rise mean for a Biden presidency?”

The Intercept: “Joe Biden’s Silence on Ending the Drone Wars” — “President-elect Joe Biden has maintained silence for years on the controversial and continued use of so-called targeted killings — lethal strikes by drones, cruise missiles, and occasionally military special operations raids.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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