Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News. The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones -- "areas of active hostilities" in Pentagon parlance -- which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible. That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
The Obama administration put in place a rule that no drone strike could take place outside a war zone unless there was a "near certainty" that no civilian would be harmed. Obama also put the White House in the decision loop on most strikes against high-value targets.
And, outside a war zone, the military or the CIA had to show that the target posed an imminent threat to the United States.
These and other rules -- along with a general policy preference by Obama -- led to a dramatic drop in drone strikes toward the end of the Obama presidency. The drop was also due to the fact that the al Qaeda threat in Pakistan diminished considerably.
Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.