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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

The latest on national protests. Plus, what went wrong in Yemen rescue attempt?

The latest on national protests. Plus, what went wrong in Yemen rescue attempt?

May 22nd, 2014
05:35 PM ET

Fmr. counterterrorism official: Use of drones has gone too far

(CNN) – Former White House national counterterrorism official for the Bush and Clinton administrations is out with a new thriller "Sting of the Drone," a fictional novel that makes the argument both for and against drones in warfare.

But in the postscript, the nonfictional part of the book, Clarke writes of how he helped convince people to arm drones that had initially been used only for surveillance.

"Since 9/11, the United States has killed 2,000 people using armed drones and the killing continues," Clarke writes.

"Personally, what do I think? I think we've overdone it," Clarke said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper.

"When I advocated this in 2000 and 2001, I wanted to go after bin Laden. I wanted a small group of maybe 10 al Qaeda leaders to be targeted, not 2,000 people in five countries," said Clarke.

"When people are demonstrating in the streets of Yemen and Pakistan against the drone program, when the program itself has become an issue, we've gone too far," said Clarke.

The former counterterrorism official says he understands the "addiction" and the "seduction" of deploying drones.

"You keep doing it because you have a responsibility to stop people from killing Americans. I had that responsibility. I know what that weight feels like," said Clarke.

But he says the U.S. has used drones too often, and "has lost perspective."

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