U.S. will continue to use necessary tools to fight terrorism

The U.S. would never deprive itself of an effective tool against counterterrorism, including the potential continued use of drones against terrorists, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for the State Department, made the statement on Thursday during a daily press briefing in Washington. Harf responded to questions about remarks made by Secretary of State John Kerry during a TV interview he gave in Pakistan. During the interview, Kerry alluded to the impending end of the drone strike program.

When asked if the drone strike program would end, Harf said there is no current timeline to the end of the program.

"We've made significant progress against core al-Qaida by using these exact counterterrorism tools, but as we make that progress the need to use these tools will, of course, be reduced," Harf said. "Today, the Secretary reinforced the changes that we expect to take place in the program over time, but there is no exact timeline to provide. Obviously, a lot of this is driven by the situation on the ground."

Harf said the main goal is that the U.S. has success against al-Qaida. She said significant progress was made against core al-Qaida in the region and the U.S. will continue in the attempt to make the terrorist organization a shadow of what it once was.

When asked why the U.S. would consider depriving itself of drone striking, a tactic the U.S. says is very helpful, Harf said the U.S. will continue to use the tool in the region as needed.

"I don't think anybody's talking about depriving the U.S. government of a tool," Harf said. "I think there's a difference between reducing the threat so much that you can use the tool less, or even possibly in a certain part of the world, hypothetically speaking, not have to use it anymore. Again, we're not there in this region. There's a difference between that and saying we're going to deprive ourselves of a tool. Clearly, the President and the Secretary both believe that we need to use the tools that we have to defend the United States and our interests. I don't think they're mutually exclusive, in other words."