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Foreign Affairs

How Covert Can It Be...?

... if the CIA is publicly "seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen?"

Shhhhh . . . maybe we're assuming Yemeni terrorists can't read.

Of genuine interest, however, is the requested expansion of the CIA's authority to launch "strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who will be killed."

Securing permission to use these "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.

But don't go thinking we're entering a brave new world or anything.

The practice has been a core element of the CIA's drone program in Pakistan for several years.
I wonder if that's also a covert action.

Obama's declined such a request last year, but seems poised to acquiesce in light of the troop draw-downs in the Middle East. Yet "signature strikes" against unidentified persons was certainly not on Obama's to-do list when he ran for president. It's good to see a liberal "evolve" in office in the "right" direction, for once.

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