Thursday, 30 March, 2017

Trump gives Central Intelligence Agency new powers to conduct drone strikes

Getty Images              U.S. Air Force Predator drones are seen at an air base in the Persian Gulf region Getty Images U.S. Air Force Predator drones are seen at an air base in the Persian Gulf region
Lance Thomas | 16 March, 2017, 00:10

The new authority is a change in drone policy from the Obama administration, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday citing US officials.

There was no immediate comment from the White House, CIA or the Pentagon on the Journal report, which said that it was under this new authority that the CIA carried out a drone strike in Syria late last month, killing senior Al Qaeda leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masiri while he was travelling in a auto.

According to Agence France Presse, the 18-page Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) provided more details than the government had previously revealed on how drone strikes were approved. This may already be happening.

The Obama White House touted the precision of US drone operations in a report last summer, concluding that a range of 64 to 116 civilians had been killed in drone strikes or other lethal air attacks outside of established war zones. Though once the center of America's covert war on terrorism, drone strikes in Pakistan have become rare: There were only 3 in 2016, down from a high of 122 in 2010, according to data from New America.

Girls, beware: Colouring hair, taking contraceptives ups breast cancer risk
Jane Snyder a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer and photojournalist based out of Athens, Georgia. None of the women who followed a Mediterranean diet suffered a recurrence of the disease.

As for Donald Trump's administration point of view, their main objective is only to "accelerate our operations against terror groups, and be more nimble and agile in our speed of response", according to Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis.

However, Laurie Calhoun doesn't agree with this point of view, saying that the practice of the Central Intelligence Agency managing drone strikes against terrorists existed under the presidency of Barack Obama as well.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said the ongoing authorities for strikes in Yemen were granted at the same time as the approval for the ill-fated raid, the first under Trump's presidency. In July, Washington admitted to the unintentional deaths of about 116 civilians from nations not at war with the US, due to drone attacks. However, Trump will surely lift as many restrictions as possible, making way easier for the military to use drone strikes against potential terror targets, from pretty much any location.

Senior U.S. officials said current proposals being circulated in the White House would in some instances lower the requirement to a "reasonable certainty" that no civilians would be killed or injured in a strike, which is essentially the standard that the U.S. military has followed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

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