Be careful guys, you don’t want to be brought up on “war crimes” charges when Obama changes his mind about the operation.
(WaPo) — The CIA is expected to begin operating armed drone aircraft over Yemen, expanding the hunt for al-Qaeda operatives in a country where counter-terrorism efforts have been disrupted by political chaos, U.S. officials said.
The plan to move CIA-operated Predator and other unmanned aircraft into the region reflects a decision by President Obama that the al-Qaeda threat in Yemen has grown so serious that patrols by U.S. military drones are not enough.
U.S. officials said the CIA would operate alongside, and in close coordination with, the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, which has been flying Predators and other remotely piloted planes over Yemen for much of the past year.
Because it operates under different legal authorities than the military, the CIA may have greater latitude to carry out strikes if the political climate shifts in Yemen and cooperation with American forces is diminished or cut off.
The expanded drone campaign will make use of “a mix of U.S. assets,” said a U.S. official familiar with the plan. “It’s not like you’re going to have a change of command ceremony that goes from U.S. military to CIA.”