The Rachel Maddow Show | April 30, 2012
MADDOW: This is something that's going to sound backwards, but it's not. The Obama administration announced for the first time today that the CIA kills people in Pakistan with drones. We all knew this was happening but they never said it before.
JOHN BRENNAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNTER-TERRORISM ADVISOR: So, let me say it as simply as I can. Yes, in full accordance with the law and in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States and to save American lives, the United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific al Qaeda terrorists sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft often referred to publicly as drones. And I 'm here today because President Obama has instructed us to be more open with the American people about these efforts.
MADDOW: More open. I mean, you already knew that we were killing people with drones in places that were not technically at war. And the administration knows that you know that, but they have never publicly formally acknowledged it like this before. In the speech today counterterrorism chief, John Brennan , argues that drone strikes are legal. He explains the process that leads to a drone strike and he basically says the Obama administration does not think there's a legal reason to pretend these aren't happening anymore when everyone plainly knows that they are happening. Interestingly, John Brennan said that drone strikes are legal against al Qaeda specifically because we're at war with al Qaeda specifically, which does raise the question of whether the administration thinks it would not be legal to use drone strikes to kill some other kind of bad guy who wasn't in al Qaeda .
BRENNAN: Yes, war is hell . It is awful. It involves human beings killing of human beings , sometimes innocent civilians. That is why we despise war. That is why we want this war against al Qaeda to be over as soon as possible and not a moment longer. And over time as al Qaeda fades into history and as our partners grow stronger, I do hope that the United States would have to rely less on lethal force to keep our country safe. Until that happens, as President Obama said here five years ago, if another nation cannot, will not take action, we will.
MADDOW: That announcement is not the only thing that happened that was unexpected and a big deal and on top of other things going on in politics and other news. This is one of those news days that is kind of an embarrassment of riches. There's a lot going on right now. For example, there's an oil spill today in Louisiana . A 22 -inch pipeline that carries oil to the nation's third largest refinery in Baton Rouge ruptured today. Nearly 2,000 barrels of Exxon oil were spilled. Here is the picture of them starting to clean up the Exxon , Louisiana , spill, today. As you can see here, not that impressive. Pretty much the technology for cleaning up oil spills is paper towels, fancy paper towels and hard hats. Meanwhile the oil industry 's annual offshore drilling conference is under way in Texas , where today they announced plans to drill the deepest undersea well ever, 12,000 feet deep. They will be drilling into the earth's mantle, because we can do that now. The technology is advanced enough for us to drill 12,000 feet deep into the mantle of the earth . When it comes to cleaning up oil when something goes wrong, eh, whatever, anybody got a tissue? Some 409? Also, one other thing to keep in mind in terms of news this week, tomorrow is May Day , which sounds like I'm calling for help but it means May 1st -- the original Labor Day . Occupy groups nationwide are calling for protests tomorrow to highlight the 99 percent, the needs of the non- rich in this country. For New York City , we're told to expect marches and rallies and surprise actions in disparate parts of the city as well as a reminder that the name of New York City 's Union Square has the word "union" in it. Watch for that in tomorrow's news. We'll be right back.