CIA Increases Drone Killings of Pakistanis Who “Might be Militants”
Monday, November 07, 2011
Predator drone firing a Hellfire missile
To the chagrin of American diplomats and military commanders, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has expanded its targeting criteria for drone attacks in Pakistan to include anyone who might be associated with al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations.
In effect, the CIA has authorized the killing of foreign nationals whose identities aren’t known and who are only suspected of terrorist associations. Attacks against such groups of people are referred to as “signature” strikes by the CIA, as opposed to “personality” strikes which target known suspects. The vast majority of CIA drone attacks are of the “signature” variety. They were first used during the administration of President George W. Bush, but they have been enthusiastically pursued by Barack Obama’s CIA.
The change in policy has raised the question, according to Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room, of “whether it’s acceptable for the CIA to kill someone without truly knowing if he’s the bombsmith or the laundry guy.”
Officials in the Departments of Defense and State are not happy with the CIA’s expanded targeting of Pakistanis. Diplomats worry that the broader rationale for increased aerial assaults will foment even more anti-American sentiments in Pakistan, while military planners fear a backlash that will lead to the U.S. losing key supply routes into Afghanistan.
U.S. Tightens Drone Rules (by Adam Entous, Siobhan Gorman and Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal)
CIA Drones Kill Large Groups Without Knowing Who They Are (by Spencer Ackerman, Wired)
Unnamed U.S. Official Denies Drones Have Killed 168 Children in Pakistan (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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