Report: CIA Wants To Expand Armed Drone Use

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 19 2012 9:49 AM

The CIA Wants To Beef Up Its Armed Drone Fleet

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Protesters march with a drone effigy outside Duke Energy headquarters Charlotte before the start of the Democratic National Convention in September

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

The CIA is apparently pushing the White House to sign off on a significant expansion of the agency's fleet of armed drones, increasing its size by roughly a third.

The Washington Post with the scoop and the analysis:

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.
The outcome has broad implications for counterterrorism policy and whether the CIA gradually returns to being an organization focused mainly on gathering intelligence, or remains a central player in the targeted killing of terrorism suspects abroad.
In the past, officials from the Pentagon and other departments have raised concerns about the CIA’s expanding arsenal and involvement in lethal operations, but a senior Defense official said that the Pentagon had not opposed the agency’s current plan.
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No one within the administration is commenting publicly about the report, and those officials who did speak to the Post did so on the condition of anonymity. You can read the full thing here.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.