VIDEO: Obama makes headlines by admitting, justifying drone campaign

The Takeaway

U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles, like the MQ-9 Reaper pictured here, have been used to attack terrorist targets in various countries in and around the Middle East. President Barack Obama discussed the program Monday. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson via

The unmanned aerial vehicle program that the U.S. military uses in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and had previously used in Iraq, among other countries, is one of the most well-known, least-talked about aspects of the American War on Terror.

But Monday night, President Barack Obama waded into the debate over the program during a "Hangout" he held with selected Americans on the Google social network, Google+. When asked about why more drone strikes had been used under his leadership than any other president, Obama gave an impassioned defense of the program and said there is a "tight leash" on the program.

"It's not a bunch of folks in a room somewhere just making decision," Obama said in the one-hour conversation, that was also streamed live on YouTube. "It is also part and parcel of our overall authority when it comes to battling Al Qaeda. There's this perception somehow that we're just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly. This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists who are trying to go in and harm Americans."

President Obama’s Google+ Hangout
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