Gates backs lawmakers' oversight of drone program

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 09:15 hrs

Robert Gates, a former defense secretary and spymaster, is backing lawmakers' proposal to form a special court to review President Barack Obama's deadly drone strikes against Americans linked to al-Qaida.

Gates, who led the Pentagon for Presidents George W. Bush and Obama and previously served as the Central Intelligence Agency's director, says Obama's use of the unmanned drones follows tight rules.

But in an interview aired Sunday on CNN, Gates said he shares lawmakers' wariness over unchecked use of the lethal weapons.

Obama has favored the use of remote-controlled drones to strike al-Qaida with lethal missiles in places such as Pakistan and Yemen.

But lawmakers are leery of unrestricted targets and are pushing for greater oversight.

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