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Obama to give counterterrorism speech Thursday

May. 20, 2013 - 10:46AM   |  
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WASHINGTON — President Obama will deliver a counterterrorism speech Thursday that may also be a defense of two much criticized programs: Drone strikes and the terrorism prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The speech is a follow-up to Obama’s State of the Union pledge to “continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

The president will speak Thursday at the National Defense University in Washington.

The speech may also touch on a more recent controversy: The Justice Department seizure of telephone records of journalists from The Associated Press, part of an investigation into national security leaks.

Civil libertarians have also attacked the administration over drone strikes against terrorist suspects and the continued existence of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, which Obama had pledged to close during his first year in office.

Obama has not said much about the drone program, but aides have said that attacks have been carefully planned and specifically targeted on members of terrorist groups.

As for Gitmo, Obama and aides note that congressional Republicans have blocked efforts to transfer some suspects to the United States for confinement and trial.

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