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Trump authorises Central Intelligence Agency to launch drone strikes against terrorists

15 March 2017

Under former President Barack Obama, covert operations flourished with the widely-adopted use of killer drones, though some internal policies sought to keep those potentially boundless war powers in check. It was a question I didn't feel entirely confident answering back then because-for all his campaign talk about reducing our military footprint overseas while focusing on defeating the Islamic State-he didn't have much to say about using drones.

While U.S. officials said Mr. Trump's action specifically applied to the CIA's ability to operate in Syria, it means the agency eventually could become empowered under Mr. Trump to once again conduct covert strikes in other places where the U.S.is targeting militants in Yemen, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere. The CIA would use drones and other intelligence tools to locate suspected terrorists and the military would carry out the strike.

Obama, who vastly expanded USA drone strikes against terrorism suspects overseas under the cloak of secrecy, was seeking to influence global guidelines for their use as China and other countries pursue their own drone programs.

According to Dan Gettinger, co-director at the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College, this move gives the Central Intelligence Agency "greater freedom to carry out strikes on its own".

Speaking with senior US officials, Jaffe and DeYoung report that the proposed changes to counter-terrorism strategy "would empower the Pentagon to make decisions on targets without approval from the White House and potentially scrap the "near-certainty" standard of no civilian deaths for strikes outside war zones".

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Now, as many feared, it seems that his successor President Donald Trump is seeking to undo those restraints, making it easier to order attacks outside of war zones, without approval or oversight, and lowering the standard for what defines an "acceptable" civilian casualty.

That policy lent itself to more transparency, because the Pentagon is required to publicly report most airstrikes.

In July, the U.S government accepted responsibility for inadvertently killing up to 116 civilians in strikes in countries where America is not at war.

U.S. officials have not confirmed the strike, but Al-Qaeda said Masri was killed "during a Crusader drone strike" in Syria.

Trump authorises Central Intelligence Agency to launch drone strikes against terrorists