The CIA first used its new authority in late February in a strike on a senior al Qaeda leader in Syria, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, U.S. officials said. "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. 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.
The Pentagon is required to report on its use of drone strikes, and to intermittently offer reports estimating the number of civilians killed.
"Some of the Obama administration rules were getting in the way of good strikes", a United States official briefed on the matter told NBC News. "But we always will maintain a commitment to minimizing, avoiding civilian casualties", he added.
Trump's previously undisclosed decision specifically extends CIA's drone operations in Syria, but officials speculated that the move will eventually also include other countries with ties to terrorism, such as Yemen, Libya and Somalia.
This shift may signal a departure from the Obama administration's signature "terror Tuesdays", in which the Oval Office was turned into a headquarters for approving "kill lists" and organizing "targeted killings", with the responsibility instead being delegated to USA military commanders and Central Intelligence Agency agents.
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The new policy is in contrast to that of former President Barack Obama that limited the CIA's paramilitary role, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. But "f$3 or Obama, the high standard ensured that local partner forces did not come to depend on American air support and that the USA military did not inadvertently slide down a slippery slope into larger-scale combat operations or even war", WaPo observed.
Trump has already granted a request to declare parts of Yemen to be areas of "active hostilities", where the rules around strikes require less coordination with Washington, the Times said.
Targeted killing was an issue under the last administration.
Whatever the tactical differences between the Democrats and the Republicans over U.S. foreign policy, both defend Washington's right to murder people indiscriminately in every corner of the planet.