Tags: pompeo | cia | drone | power

Report: CIA Seeking Expanded Drone Power Authority

Image: Report: CIA Seeking Expanded Drone Power Authority
CIA director Mike Pompeo (AP)

By    |   Saturday, 16 Sep 2017 10:39 AM

The CIA, appearing to be backed by the White House, is seeking expanded powers to conduct covert drone strikes in active war zones, including Afghanistan, current and former intelligence officials have told The New York Times.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in pushing for authority to make the airstrikes, has made a case to President Donald Trump in recent weeks that the United States is limited in its ability to perform counterterrorism operations because of Obama-era policies limiting his agency's methods for fighting Islamist terrorists around the world.

"When we've asked for more authorities, we've been given it. When we ask for more resources, we get it," Pompeo told Fox News this week.

Some at the Pentagon, however, do not agree the CIA should have more authority for drone strikes. The military currently has the lead role for airstrikes, either with drones or by traditional means, and acknowledges its hits publicly.

The CIA, however, has conducted a campaign of drone strikes for years in Pakistan, but neither the U.S. or Pakistan acknowledges the attacks, a condition the Pakistan government insists on.

Pompeo's proposed plan is raising worries among critics that if the drone strikes are approved, it could open the way for the CIA to launch them in several places where the U.S. is fighting al-Qaida and the Islamic State, such as in Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.

The CIA director, a former Army officer and West Point graduate, has said he favors pushing for the agency to take on a more direct role in the fight against militants. In Afghanistan, there has already been 362 military drone strikes this year, compared to 376 in all of 2016.

However, in Pakistan, where the CIA has been conducting its covert strikes, there were just three hits last year and four this year, according to the Long War Journal published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Neither the CIA or Defense Department would comment on Pompeo's proposal, but Defense Secretary James Mattis has not resisted it.

Other Pentagon officials, however, said they are concerned about what the CIA would be able to do, compared to the military. Further, they fear that troops on the ground could be blamed for CIA strikes that end up killing civilians, as the spy agency's attacks would be remain covert.

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The CIA, appearing to be backed by the White House, is seeking expanded powers to conduct covert drone strikes in active war zones, including Afghanistan, current and former intelligence officials have told The New York Times.
pompeo, cia, drone, power
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2017-39-16
Saturday, 16 Sep 2017 10:39 AM
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