Obama Apologizes to Families of Hostages Killed During US Drone Op

Warren Weinstein had been held captive since 2011, 2 other Americans killed in separate U.S. Counterterrorism Operations.
9:20 | 04/23/15

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Transcript for Obama Apologizes to Families of Hostages Killed During US Drone Op
As president. And as commander in chief and I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations. Including the one that inadvertently took the lives of warmth and Geovany. I profoundly regret what happens. On behalf United States government file for our deepest apologies. To the Chambliss. That emotional statement from President Obama taking full responsibility today for a counterterrorism. Strike. Accidentally killed American hostage warm Weinstein. Weinstein was taking in 2011 and died during the US drone attack in January in Italian hostage. Was also killed Dele untie Hernandez in New York President Obama also. Said the drone strike took out several dangerous members of al-Qaeda let's bring in ABC news international affairs correspondent. He missed McDonald payments this attack happened in January. But is now. No longer classified what did President Obama sent went. You read she talking about two separate incidents two separate US counterterrorism operations taking place. In the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan this is way ahead so much of the fighting. Has been against al-Qaeda and the Talabani. Over the last decade or so it he's effectively and lawless tribal region in between those two countries. And is meeting key operational area for the Talabani and also today a al-Qaeda affiliates. Back since. 2001. Now the throw a strike that we talked about a cut on the fourteenth of January. And this is the strike in which the two innocent civilians. Were killed now as we mentioned one of this one of those was the US citizen Warren Weinstein. The other is an Italian national his name is Geovany. The Puerto. That both being held hostage for some time mr. Weinstein for example had. Heating hostage videos that we released by his captors he'd been pleading with the US government to come in and rescued him. He's capped his hat at one point say though in no interest in holding him. He definitely that they wanted to talk to the United States about negotiating. To exchange him for some other prisoners. But. As the president has now confirmed. Information came through and has now been can found. That in that operation. These two hostages were killed it was an accident. As President Obama said. Mistakes sometimes deadly mistakes in the fog of war. Katic. And it's in that circumstance that he said this has happened is CIA. Operations effectively. And as we understand at the White House is saying that although it was a broad remit for counterterrorism operations. There was no specific. Information given to the president won a specific request mic night. All of the White House to authorize these specific strikes this is so crucial because there is. Fairly complicated legal scenario. If you crying out a strike that he's going to kill either civilian obviously that's not consider legal but. Also if if a US citizen. Is the target. And in this circumstance there was no prior consent given it was not possible. Because as we're being told the CIA did not know that these hostages were in so. I got compound. So let's talk about the deet tails the White House mention the other strike for the Americans both al-Qaeda operatives. Were killed in the same region. Let's backtrack Olympic tell us about those men. It shows so dot attack as we understand that occurred on the nineteenth of January so just a few days later. Again a US counterterrorism operation conducted by the CIA has been some reporting suggests that's a drone strike. But of course the White House doesn't confirm that kind of thing. Now the two names that we understand Ahmed for route. Now he's an American who had a leadership role we did al-Qaeda. He was killed in that first operation on January to fourteenth the same operation that killed the two hostages but then these sick and operation on the nineteenth of January. Killed an American citizen out and get down. Also I was working we'd al-Qaeda. In the region said two separate incidents. In the first incident. We had one American working with al-Qaeda killed. Plus the American hostage. Plus the Italian hostage in the second strike. We had this other American who is working with al-Qaeda killed president of bomber in that address it's worth noting in talk about. The deaths of those Americans working. We al-Qaeda. He focused his comments almost entirely. On the two civilians who have killed said he'd spoken to their families he expressed absolute regret he said as president and commander in chief. I take full responsibility. Said. And he expressed profound regret. For what happened he did however point out that the actions that we taken. In these counterterrorism operations what fully consistent. We've guidelines set out by the administration as far as conducting these sorts of operations concerned. I wish you mention that the US would need specific clearance a in order to go after. The two al-Qaeda operatives. Were also American citizens but the CIA saying that this was. A mistake does that relieve them of culpability. So that the situation is this the White House in normal circumstances would need to speak seek special legal clearance to directly target an American citizen. Suspected. Potentially plotting an attack against the USO or otherwise. Now what we're being told is that that person is didn't apply in relation to both of these strikes because the CIA was not a way that these two individuals. What inside those compounds. It's. The legal mechanisms if you like for conducting. A strike could have been drugs struck corn of the type of counterterrorism operation. In that region is such that aids different. If we think there are al-Qaeda operatives there. Compared we'd if we think their al-Qaeda operatives who are American citizens. So that I guess is the fundamental difference. Are bomb clearly. Saying in that press conference a short time ago. That as far as he's concerned as far as the White House is concerned. The operations weren't fully consistent. With the guidelines no doubt some questions will be raised about that but as far as we understand the CIA's sang that night. Would not a way that those two individuals. Would in those compounds wind when the counterterrorism operations took place. Asked for mr. Weinstein he had made a couple of videos while he was hostage went saying he felt abandoned by the US. Now that the US admits the he was killed accidentally. In that drone attack to his family have any kind of legal option. Yet any of fat we've just received. This statement through her from that once I'm family. And it is particularly strong it must be said the tone of it is it is extremely different from the time. Of president of dramas press briefing just a few minutes trial. Now although they thanked some specific. US agencies and officials. In particular congressman John Delaney senator Bob Bratt Mikulski and senator Ben cottage. They then say that there as she very disappointed. With the actions of the US governmental go read a quote from it. The family at mrs. Weinstein assays unfortunately. The assistance we receive from other elements of the US government was inconsistent. And disappointing over the course of three and a half he is we hope that my husband's death. And the others who face similar tragedies in recent months who finally prompt the US government to take its responsibilities seriously. And establish a coup ward native and consistent approach to supporting hostages. And their families. It's a very strong woods from the family. Mr. Weinstein. His wife there. With some very pointed comments of the US government in relation. To their actions now mr. Weinstein had been at the end in fact it was his lost four days I think all of he's sitting year stages of contract. With the US I AIG it seems national development arm of the US government working in Pakistan. And clearly the family feeling very acutely. The actions of the US government. And throughout that the period of all of he's at the time it. But also the actions that led to his dad. He would actually made a direct appeals to President Obama. To help secure his release Henis McDonald I want to thank you so much for joining us. And you can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news happened starting this story for exclusive updates on the go I'm tired Hernandez in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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