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U.N. official: Stop CIA drone strikes

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Justin Cole communicates with the pilot of an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle prior to a night mission from Ali Air Base, Iraq on November 5, 2007. The Predators operate on 24-hour operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. UPI/Jonathan Snyder/U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Justin Cole communicates with the pilot of an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle prior to a night mission from Ali Air Base, Iraq on November 5, 2007. The Predators operate on 24-hour operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. UPI/Jonathan Snyder/U.S. Air Force | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 28 (UPI) -- Drone strikes like those carried out by the United States in Afghanistan and Pakistan should only be done by the military, a top U.N. official says.

Philip Alston, a human rights expert with the title of special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told The New York Times in an interview Thursday the CIA should not be given the "life and death power" of bombing by remotely piloted aircraft.

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"With the Defense Department you've got maybe not perfect but quite abundant accountability as demonstrated by what happens when a bombing goes wrong in Afghanistan," he said. "The whole process that follows is very open. Whereas if the CIA is doing it, by definition they are not going to answer questions, not provide any information, and not do any follow-up that we know about."

Alston plans to give a report Thursday to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. He said he will not describe the use of drones by the CIA and other civilian intelligence agencies as a war crime.

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