Tuesday, October 23, 2012

America's Secret Army: CIA is Dangerous, Unchecked Paramilitary Force



Petraeus, CIA Seek to Expand Drone Fleet By Greg Miller, The Washington Post 20 October 12 http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/320-80/14090-petraeus-cia-seek-to-expand-drone-fleet

[excerpted] The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency's fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy service's decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said.

The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency's ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, officials said.

If approved, the CIA could add as many as 10 drones, the officials said, to an inventory that has ranged between 30 and 35 over the past few years. The outcome has broad implications for counterterrorism policy and whether the CIA gradually returns to being an organization focused mainly on gathering intelligence, or remains a central player in the targeted killing of terrorism suspects abroad.
 

In the past, officials from the Pentagon and other departments have raised concerns about the CIA's expanding arsenal and involvement in lethal operations, but a senior Defense official said that the Pentagon had not opposed the agency's current plan.

Officials from the White House, the CIA and the Pentagon declined to comment on the proposal. Officials who discussed it did so on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of the subject....

...Meanwhile, the campaign of U.S. airstrikes in Yemen has heated up. Yemeni officials said a strike on Thursday - the 35th this year - killed at least seven al-Qaeda-linked militants near Jaar, a town in southern Yemen previously controlled by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the terrorist group's affiliate is known....

....The CIA's request for more drones indicates that Petraeus has become convinced that there are limits to those sharing arrangements and that the agency needs full control over a larger number of aircraft.

The U.S. military's fleet dwarfs that of the CIA. A Pentagon report issued this year counted 246 Predators, Reapers and Global Hawks in the Air Force inventory alone, with hundreds of other remotely piloted aircraft distributed among the Army, the Navy and the Marines....

...Any move to expand the reach of the CIA's fleet of armed drones probably would require the agency to establish additional secret bases. The agency relies on U.S. military pilots to fly the planes from bases in the southwestern United States but has been reluctant to share overseas landing strips with the Defense Department....


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