CIA Seeks Expanded Authority To Conduct UAV Strikes

AIAA Daily Launch

The New York Times (9/15, Subscription Publication) reported that the CIA is “pushing for expanded powers” to conduct “covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other active war zones,” a request which the White House “appears to favor despite the misgivings of some at the Pentagon.” If approved, this would be the first time the CIA will have had such authorization in Afghanistan. CIA Director Mike Pompeo “has made a forceful case to Mr. Trump in recent weeks that the Obama-era arrangement” giving primary authority for airstrikes to the Pentagon has “needlessly limited the United States’ ability to conduct counterterrorism operations, according to the current and former officials.” Although Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not opposed the move, other Pentagon officials “question the expansion of CIA authorities in Afghanistan or elsewhere, asking what the agency can do that the military cannot.” Sources familiar with Pompeo’s position “said that he views a division of labor” with the Pentagon as “an abrogation” of the CIA’s authority.