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Originally published Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 4:32 PM

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Top lawmakers consider new court to monitor drones

Senator Dianne Feinstein says it's time to lift the secrecy off the CIA drone program that targets al-Qaida operatives so that U.S. officials can acknowledge the strikes and correct what she says are exaggerated reports of civilian casualties.

AP Intelligence Writer

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WASHINGTON —

Senator Dianne Feinstein says it's time to lift the secrecy off the CIA drone program that targets al-Qaida operatives so that U.S. officials can acknowledge the strikes and correct what she says are exaggerated reports of civilian casualties.

The California Democrat and Senate Intelligence Committee chairman says she and other lawmakers may explore setting up a special court system to regulate strikes, similar to the special courts that signs off on government surveillance in espionage and terror cases.

Feinstein spoke after the confirmation hearing for CIA nominee John Brennan, who defended the drone program, saying policymakers only used lethal strikes as a last resort.

She says the CIA allows her staff to monitor the top secret Predator program, but she believes it's now too public to keep under wraps.

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