CIA Looking for Expanded Authority for Drone War in Yemen


seeking new authority

The CIA is looking for new authority in its drone war in Yemen. The CIA wants to launch "strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who will be killed," the Washington Post reports.

It's hard to tell that that's actually new authority. Salon's Glenn Greenwald pointed out that CIA drones already target mourners at funerals of drone casualties.

What would the "new" authority allow the CIA to do? From the Post:

Securing permission to use "signature strikes" would allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior, such as imagery showing militants gathering at known al-Qaeda compounds or unloading explosives.

These "signature strikes" are supposed to be "surgical" too but, of course, they're not. As for authority, the CIA is requesting it from the National Security Council. Because the suspects the government is killing with drones are of the terrorist variety, the entire process is clouded in secrecy. Just trust us, the President says, " this thing is kept on a very tight leash."

And though the President may not use the term "war on terror," he happily signs legislation that defines that war as global and indefinite. So while the CIA's authority to kill suspects from machines in the sky may be "new," expansions of the war at home come pre-approved.

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  1. Lets just combine the drone attacks with BusSafe and solve two problems at once. Its for the children.

  2. The sad thing is that Romney may very well be worse on these issues if he takes over.

    1. Tallest midget.

      1. Best mouse in a dog show.

      2. Most erudite Reason commenter…

  3. “the President says, ‘this thing is kept on a very tight leash.'”

    A lot of guys might take that as tacit admission that his foreign policy is a dog.

    1. Dog – It’s What’s For Dinner?

  4. I don’t see what could possibly go wrong.

  5. Scruffy Nerfherder|4.18.12 @ 9:07PM|#
    “Lets just combine the drone attacks with BusSafe and solve two problems at once. Its for the children.”

    Hey, *NAIL* that bus! Someone on it was guilty of something!

  6. Breitbart performs a magic trick, gets Dems to acknowledge that median pay stats are worthless.

  7. Given technology for primitive but effective drones and cruise missiles is consumer level (anyone checked out modern RC planes lately? With four jet engines and shit?), its only Providence and stupidity intrinsic to terror-ambitious minds that keeps us safe from fundie towel-heads and their buddies.

    But I bet Pedro the coke-dealer is flying a couple improvised bad-boys over the border and back once a month. Vote for Pedro.

  8. Has the congress declared war on Yemen, or issued letters of marque against “any random Arab the CIA wants dead”? If the answer to either of these questions is “no”, then the CIA is asking for a license to commit capital crimes.

    Not that they haven’t already committed any number of capital offenses in their sordid history, but it’s pretty fucking blatant of them to come right out and parade their intentions like this.


    1. I’m witcha, John.

      War is armed conflict between sovereigns. Congress only has the authority to declare war, that is, to state that the United States is in a state of armed conflict with a given sovereign.

      I’m coming around to the position that an AUMF is a Constitutional nullity unless it authorizes the use of military force against a named sovereign.

      So, I can see an AUMF against Afghanistan or Iraq as being valid (I don’t stick at the need for the magic word “war”), but a free-floating AUMF against a tactic (“terror”) or an NGO (“Al Quaeda”) is a category error, a nullity.

      Failed states are a complication, of course. And I can see our military being active in a given country without a state of war with that country, pursuant to a treaty (confirmed per the Constitution). But that’s about it.

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