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Donald Trump’s secret rules for drone strikes outside war zones are disclosed

By ET News

The Biden administration has disclosed a set of rules secretly issued by President Donald Trump in 2017 for counterterrorism “direct action” operations — like drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional war zones — which the White House has suspended as it weighs whether and how to tighten the guidelines.

While the Biden administration censored some passages, the visible portions show that in the Trump era, commanders in the field were given latitude to make decisions about attacks so long as they fit within broad sets of “operating principles,” including that there should be “near certainty” that civilians “will not be injured or killed in the course of operations.”

At the same time, however, the Trump-era rules were flexible about permitting exceptions to that and other standards, saying that “variations” could be made “where necessary” so long as certain bureaucratic procedures were followed in approving them.

In October, Judge Edgardo Ramos of the Southern District of New York had ordered the government turn over the 11-page document in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by The New York Times and by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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