Trump gave Central Intelligence Agency power to authorize drone strikes
- Author: Rogelio Becker Mar 16, 2017,
Mar 16, 2017, 0:13
By the end of the Obama administration, according to the Journal, the Central Intelligence Agency would use drones to locate suspected terrorists but the military would carry out the actual strike. "Strikes by missile-armed Predator and Reaper drones against oversea targets began under former President George W. Bush and were expanded by Obama", the report continued.
By giving the CIA total control over the USA drone program, President Trump will shield the agency from public scrutiny and allow it to operate in the dark.
In a letter released on Friday, 37 former top USA officials, most of whom served in the Obama administration, urged Trump to move cautiously when modifying or overturning restrictions imposed in recent years.
The CIA drone strikes have also proven successful in eliminating high profile terrorists from Pakistan.
The White House is considering relaxing this standard, which now "demands near- certainty that no civilians are killed or injured in USA raids or drone strikes outside conflict zones".
The Pentagon is required to report on its use of drone strikes, and to intermittently offer reports estimating the number of civilians killed.
On Monday, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said the ongoing authorities for strikes in Yemen were granted at the same time as the approval for the ill-fated raid, the first under Trump's presidency.
"I can tell you it has resulted in the damage to some equipment and damage of some structures as well as to some civilian casualties because the Islamic State is not concerned about whether or not any of the civilians in Mosul are killed or wounded", he continued.
This requirement "has made it much harder to provide air or drone support to USA allies when they are under fire from groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda in places such as Yemen, Libya and Somalia", officials say.
"The CIA should be a foreign intelligence gathering and analysis organization - not a paramilitary one", he said. In July, Washington admitted to the unintentional deaths of about 116 civilians from nations not at war with the US, due to drone attacks. What's very clear from the Post is that these unnamed sources they're using seem to want this decentralization to happen and allow military officials to decide more frequently on their own when to use drones to kill.