Obama balances threats against Americans' rights

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By JULIE PACE and LARA JAKES, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama, forecasting the changing nature of terrorist threats against the U.S., says "America is at a crossroads." And so, too, is his counterterrorism policy, which has struggled to balance protecting the nation from attacks while still upholding Americans' rights.

The Obama administration this week acknowledged that four Americans have been killed in secretive overseas drone strikes against al-Qaida extremists since 2009. And in a speech Thursday, Obama warned that Americans must be vigilant against increasing homegrown threats from within.

It is an awkward position for the president, a constitutional lawyer who took office pledging to undo policies that infringed on Americans' civil liberties and hurt the U.S. image overseas.

Yet on Thursday he defended his continued and expanded use of the deadly spy drones, which have killed thousands.

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