Trump gives Central Intelligence Agency power to conduct drone strikes: United States media

Posted March 15, 2017

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

And a senior White House official told The Washington Post that a review of drone policy was nearly complete and would roll back other constraints imposed by Barack Obama.

He added, "It does not mean the Central Intelligence Agency can not have a role in assisting in the use of force in locating targets, but that decision on whether to strike or not to strike and that order should be coming from through the military chain of command..."

"Some of the Obama administration rules were getting in the way of good strikes", a U.S. official briefed on the matter told NBC News.

The move would be a change from the policy of former U.S President Barack Obama's administration of limiting the CIA's paramilitary role, the newspaper reported, citing a U.S official.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief seeks to reassure Trump on defense budgets
France and Turkey are close to meeting the 2 percent requirement. "It is realistic that all allies reach the goal of two percent". His administration has repeatedly pressed the allies to meet a pledge to spend two percent of GDP annually on defence by 2024.

Trump's order is meant to apply to operations against ISIS and al-Qaida in Syria, but it could also allow the agency to conduct strikes in other countries. This combination allowed for greater transparency as the Pentagon was obligated to report most airstrikes.

The first strike under the new authority took place in February, targeting senior al Qaeda leader in Syria, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the changed rules.

Speaking with senior USA officials, Jaffe and DeYoung report that the proposed changes to counter-terrorism strategy "would empower the Pentagon to make decisions on targets without approval from the White House and potentially scrap the "near-certainty" standard of no civilian deaths for strikes outside war zones".

The changes to the Obama-era Presidential Policy Guidance would empower the Pentagon to make decisions on targets without approval from the White House and potentially scrap the "near-certainty" standard of no civilian deaths for strikes outside war zones.

Perhaps "the most vulnerable standard", according to one USA counterterrorism official involved in the discussions, is that US officials must prove that a potential target outside of a war zone poses a "continuing and imminent threat to Americans" before action is taken.