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Gates backs lawmakers' oversight of drone program

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Photo -   FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2008 file photo Defense Secretary Robert Gates stands by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at Kandahar Air Field in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Gates, a former defense secretary and spy chief, is backing lawmakers’ proposal to form a special court to review President Barack Obama’s deadly drone strikes against Americans linked to al-Qaida. Gates said Obama’s use of the unmanned and lethal drones follows tight rules, but he shares lawmakers’ wariness over using drones to target al-Qaida operatives and allies from the sky. (AP Photo/Scott Olson, Pool)
FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2008 file photo Defense Secretary Robert Gates stands by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at Kandahar Air Field in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Gates, a former defense secretary and spy chief, is backing lawmakers’ proposal to form a special court to review President Barack Obama’s deadly drone strikes against Americans linked to al-Qaida. Gates said Obama’s use of the unmanned and lethal drones follows tight rules, but he shares lawmakers’ wariness over using drones to target al-Qaida operatives and allies from the sky. (AP Photo/Scott Olson, Pool)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Robert Gates, a former defense secretary and spymaster, is backing lawmakers' proposal to form a special court to review President Barack Obama's deadly drone strikes against Americans linked to al-Qaida.

Gates, who led the Pentagon for Presidents George W. Bush and Obama and previously served as the Central Intelligence Agency's director, says Obama's use of the unmanned drones follows tight rules.

But in an interview aired Sunday on CNN, Gates said he shares lawmakers' wariness over unchecked use of the lethal weapons.

Obama has favored the use of remote-controlled drones to strike al-Qaida with lethal missiles in places such as Pakistan and Yemen.

But lawmakers are leery of unrestricted targets and are pushing for greater oversight.

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