CIA to stay in charge of drone strikes

Last month, a US drone strike in Yemen killed six civilians.

US lawmakers are seeking to block President Barack Obamaâ„¢s plan to shift control of the countryâ„¢s drone campaign from the CIA to the Pentagon.

Congress has moved to insert a secret provision in the $1.1 trillion government spending bill introduced this week that would preserve the spy agencyâ„¢s role in lethal operations overseas.

US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and several others have left thousands of civilians dead since 2004, when the controversial campaign began to apparently target Å“suspected militants” in foreign nations.

The Congress measure Å“would restrict the use of any funding to transfer unmanned aircraft to the authority to carry out drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon,” The New Times reports, citing American officials.

Critics say the provision is a direct intervention by lawmakers into the way covert operations are run.

Last month, a US drone strike in Yemen killed six civilians. US officials said the attack was aimed at a senior al-Qaeda operative. On Wednesday, another strike killed a farmer in the country.

Last year, President Obama announced new guidelines for drone strikes overseas ” including a pledge of greater transparency ” during a speech at the National Defense University. At the time, White House officials said there would be Å“a preference for the Department of Defense to engage in the use of force outside war zones,” referring to Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia which are beyond the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The collateral damage that has accompanied drone strikes has generated growing opposition in the US to removing the CIA from such operations anytime soon.


Source: Press TV