White House confirms drone attacks for first time

      WASHINGTON (AP) - White House counterterrorism official John Brennan has publicly acknowledged the covert practice of drone strikes against al-Qaida targets, the first time the Obama administration has described the widely known practice.

      Brennan, speaking before a Washington think tank Monday, says President Barack Obama wants to be more open with the American public a year after raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden on May 2.

      In the most detailed comments by an administration official on the long-used practice, Brennan says targets are chosen by weighing whether there is a way to capture the person against how much of a threat the person presents to Americans.

      He said the strikes are precise, but acknowledged that civilians have been killed.

      Brennan says in most cases, drone strikes are carried out with the cooperation of a host government.