White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan, who is taking on new authority over strikes, once backed "enhanced-interrogation techniques." As I figure it, there are two death panels in the United States. One is within the C.I.A., where high-ranking intelligence professionals decide, via some opaque protocol, who they want to kill with armed drones. I used to assume that they put all the names on a list. But it was subsequently reported that sometimes the C.I.A. kills people whose identities it doesn't even know. Then there's the other death panel. It determines whose death will be sought by drones that the Department of Defense controls. These human targets used to be determined in a meeting that involved the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, various unnamed national security officials, and Obama Administration counterterrorism adviser John Brennan. They'd talk things over and debate names.
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