Photo: TSgt Effrain Lopez
The CIA is “urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones,” according to U.S. officials and reported by Greg Miller of the Washington Post.What’s odd is the CIA refused to acknowledge involvement in the U.S. drone program during a lawsuit brought by the ACLU that seeks documents describing the legal basis for using drones and statistics of civilian casualties.
In court last month the ACLU cited statements by high-ranking U.S. officials that seemed to reference the CIA’s drone program, but government lawyers countered that the statements about drones do not specifically refer to the CIA.
ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer told the Associated Press the government has “repackaged” the same argument that “they haven’t acknowledged the CIA uses drones to carry out targeted killings.”
If Washington Post is to believed, the government shouldn’t be able to make that argument anymore.
From Washington Post:
The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, officials said.
If approved, the CIA could add as many as 10 drones, the officials said, to an inventory that has ranged between 30 and 35 over the past few years.
The Post notes that the decision by the White House will impact whether the CIA “gradually returns to being an organisation focused mainly on gathering intelligence, or remains a central player in the targeted killing of terrorism suspects abroad.”
It doesn’t get much clearer than that.
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