In a departure from Obama-era policy, White House officials have unofficially verified a report in the Wall Street Journal revealing President Trump has extended authority to the CIA to conduct drone strikes against suspected terrorists.
It is believed President Trump granted authority to the CIA shortly after his inauguration.
Under Obama-era policy, the CIA was limited to intelligence gathering; the agency then turned over intelligence data to the Pentagon, which would carry out drone strikes.
Neither the Pentagon nor the CIA has commented on the change in policy.
Mr. Obama is said to have limited the role of America’s foreign spy agency over transparency and criticism from rights groups, which condemned drone strikes over concerns the CIA was not obligated to reveal civilian casualties. The Pentagon, however, is legally compelled to disclose the particulars of drone missions.
“There are a lot of problems with the drone program and the targeted killing program, but the CIA should be out of the business of ordering lethal strikes,” said ACLU deputy director, Christopher Anders. “The CIA should be a foreign intelligence gathering and analysis organization—not a paramilitary one.”
Although the move is suspected to deepen divisions between the Pentagon and the CIA, some intelligence officials and members of Congress have favored at least part of drone operations in the hands of the CIA with the conviction the agency should have a role in performing operations on their intelligence analysis.
[Wall Street Journal] [Photo courtesy ShutterStock via Inquisitr]