The secret US drone base in Saudi Arabia may no longer be a secret, according to reports.
The base’s existence was revealed through a pair of reports published by The New York Times and The Washington Post on Wednesday.
The reports came out the day before John Brenner, the chief architect of the Obama administration’s counter-terror policy, is supposed to face Congressional leaders in a confirmation hearing about his nomination as the new head of the CIA, reports Yahoo! News.
Brennan was important when it came to striking a deal with the Saudi government to set up the secret drone base, which was used two years ago to kill Anwar al-Awlaki.
The CIA declined to comment on the report, though a former national security official confirmed the base’s existence, saying, “It’s been an open secret that it was there.”
Al-Awlaki’s death in 2011 caused concern, because he and Samir Khan, who was also killed in the attack, were US citizens who had never been charged with a crime. It was believed that the men were high ranking in al Qaeda, though no charges were officially filed, notes The Australian.
The US has continued to defend drone strikes against al Qaeda suspects. The administration calls the strikes legal, ethical, and wise.
The report about the secret us drone base comes just one day after a Department of Justice document was released that showed the legal justification for the Obama administration to kill a US citizen via drone strike.
The document claims that the government is allowed to take out an American in a foreign country, provided they are a “senior operational leader of al Qaeda or an associated force of al Qaeda.” Officials with the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. have yet to comment about the secret US drone base in Saudi Arabia.
[Image by Gunnery Sergeant Shannon Arledge of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]