dglobalnews.com 'Trump's new drone strike policy very dangerous'
Published: Wed, March 15, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

'Trump's new drone strike policy very dangerous'

'Trump's new drone strike policy very dangerous'

American scholars Peter Bergen and David Sterman reckon that the figure of deaths due to Central Intelligence Agency drone strikes could be as high as 3,114.

Stories in both The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal show the machinery in action to spread the use of drone strikes as part of the Trump administration's efforts to fight terrorism.

The US has been conducting drone strikes in several countries, including Yemen and Pakistan.

The Journal also reported that though United States officials insisted the new authority applied specifically to operations in Syria, a drone strike was conducted in a Pakistani village close to the border with Afghanistan earlier his month, which was not acknowledged by the Pentagon.

That jump in use of armed drones resulted from the authorization to use "signature" strikes, which allowed targeting terrorism suspects based on behavior and other characteristics without knowing their actual identity, a USA official said on condition of anonymity.

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.

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Regardless of what eventually happens in the upcoming months, this possible change illustrates just how important it is to keep individuals like Trump from obtaining more power over the US national defense system without participation from Congress - and without holding a national debate first.

The CIA and the White House have not yet responded to the authenticity of the news report.

The CIA, which operates under covert authorities, wasn't required to disclose the number of suspected terrorists or civilian bystanders it killed in drone strikes.

This requirement "has made it much harder to provide air or drone support to USA allies when they are under fire from groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda in places such as Yemen, Libya and Somalia", officials say.

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.

The Obama administration put the military in charge of pulling the trigger to promote transparency and accountability.

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