National Security Brief: House Dems Sign On To GOP-Sponsored Drone Oversight Bill

(Credit: European Pressphoto Agency)

House Democrats are signing on to a GOP-sponsored bill that seeks to provide more oversight of the Obama administration’s counterterror targeted killing program.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) recently introduced the Oversight of Sensitive Military Operations Act which requires the Secretary of Defense to notify the House and Senate Armed Services committees, and their subcommittees, of kill or capture operations aimed at suspected al-Qaeda militants after the operation in question has taken place.

Thornberry said earlier this month that he was looking for more Democrats to sign on as co-sponsors to his bill and as of Tuesday, 13 have done so, including House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).

“Congress must ensure that the U.S. military has the authority it needs to defeat enemies abroad and prevent them from reaching American shores,” Thornberry said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week. “And that requires Congress to update its oversight mechanisms in response to the changing nature of warfare. In an unconventional war against an evolving and decentralized enemy, the oversight mechanisms must keep pace.”

In other news:

  • The New York Times reports: The European Union’s decision to lift its arms embargo on Syria, after a bitter, 13-hour debate in Brussels, is intended to put pressure on Russia and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria before peace talks scheduled in Geneva next month, with a message that the West will not allow the rebels to be defeated, senior European diplomats said Tuesday.
  • The Hill reports: The State Department on Tuesday applauded the European Union’s decision to lift the embargo on weapons sales to Syria, its clearest signal yet that it now favors arming the rebels battling President Bashar Assad.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports: Russia vowed Tuesday to deliver weapons to the Syrian government after Europe cleared the way to arm rebels, as both sides jockeyed to gain leverage ahead of a peace conference in July.