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Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: Obama has droned more Americans than Bush waterboarded terrorists

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner,Drones,George W. Bush,Terrorism

President Obama will announce a new phase in his administration’s counter-terrorism operations Thursday, one day after Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress admitting that Obama’s drone program has killed four Americans, three of them by accident. President Bush’s administration killed just one American by drone during his tenure and also waterboarded three al Qaeda terrorists.

At the National Defense University at Fort McNair, Obama will stress the transparent nature of his drone program, announce new limits to its targeting practices, and renew his efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

The new ‘playbook’
As part of his drone strike transparency effort, Obama has approved briefings for members of Congress on how exactly his administration selects targets and carries out drone operations. He is also expected to announce that his administration will now apply the same level of safeguards for killing Americans that it does for all drone targets.

On Guantanamo, Obama is expected to announce he will resume transferring as many of 166 detainees off the island as he can. The Obama administration has already cleared 86 of the prisoners for transfer to other countries, but transfers to some countries, like Yemen, were halted due to security concerns. There is no indication Obama has firm plans to finally close Guantanamo as he promised he would do in his first year in office back in 2008.

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Sean Higgins: AFL-CIO blasts immigration bill deal on high-tech visas, urges Senate to pass bill
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In Other News
The Los Angeles Times, Major health insurers opt out of Calif. exchange: Some prominent health insurers, including industry giant UnitedHealth Group, are not participating in California’s new state-run health insurance market, possibly limiting the number of choices for millions of consumers.
Fox News poll, Most voters say put border security before immigration reform: Most American voters want tougher new border security measures before changing immigration policies. A Fox News national poll released Wednesday also shows a majority favors giving illegal immigrants already in the United States a chance to qualify for citizenship.
The Wall Street Journal, Fed’s varied voices leave market guessing: Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed could start reducing bond buying “in the next few meetings” but warned against premature action, amid conflicting messages that roiled markets.
The Washington Post, Health law’s contraceptive decree spurs court battles: Religiously devout business owners are waging a broad rebellion against providing their employees with contraceptive coverage, bringing dozens of lawsuits that seem certain to land the issue before the Supreme Court.
Politico, Harry Reid mulling filibuster overhaul: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is waging an under-the-radar campaign to get his fellow Democrats to back a summertime fight to overhaul the filibuster for executive branch nominees.
Roll Call, McCain looks to defuse “nuclear” threat: Sen. John McCain finds himself once again pushing his colleagues to avoid giving fodder to Democrats seeking to use the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules with a simple majority.

Lefty Playbook
Josh Marshall, Ezra Klein, and Greg Sargent all on Lois Lerner to be fired.
Ryan Lizza on Obama’s war on Fox.
Think Progress reports that Obama has completed his counterterrorism playbook.
Jonathan Chait says the climate change wars will begin this summer when Obama makes appointments to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Righty Playbook
Michael Rubin on the London attack and beheading in Islam.
Orin Kerr says Lois Lerner probably did not sacrifice her Fifth Amendment rights at Wednesday’s House hearing.
Walter Russell Mead on jobs.

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