Military takeover of lethal drone operations under consideration

The Obama administration is considering shifting lethal drone operations run by the Central Intelligence Agency over to the military, U.S. officials tell CNN.

The proposal is under “serious consideration,” one U.S. official said. The official said no final decision has been made, and that there is no specific time frame in place, but that the change is being considered “due to a desire for greater transparency in who is being targeted.”

By law, the military is not able to act covertly the way the CIA can, and it must answer to Congress.

The Daily Beast website first reported on the potential shift.
The military would operate and fly the drones, an administration official told CNN, but targeting would still be done jointly by various agencies.

The shift would happen over time.

“It won’t happen overnight,” the U.S. official said, adding that operations in some countries would transfer to U.S. military control before other nations.

“Yemen is an example of one of the first programs that could shift,” the official tells CNN, while shifting the responsibility for the program that operates in Pakistan “would be much further out.”

CIA Director John Brennan has expressed a desire to move the intelligence agency back to traditional intelligence-collecting.

“The CIA should not be doing traditional military activities and operations,” Brennan said at his confirmation hearing.