President Barack Obama has allegedly decided to hand over part of the CIA’s drone program to the Pentagon. The administration plans to gradually shift responsibility in stages, thereby providing greater congressional oversight on the use of drones.
News of the president’s alleged plans comes from four US government sources who anonymously spoke to Reuters about the impending shift of duty. The president plans to make a speech at the National Defence University on Thursday, but it is unknown whether or not he intends to bring up plans regarding CIA’s counterterrorism drone program.
According to the officials, the president has already made up his mind about allowing the armed forces to conduct future drone operations, but he has not yet publicized these plans. By giving the Pentagon greater responsibility in stages, the president hopes that the military will eventually control drone operations in Pakistan.
The shift would allow the CIA to return to its traditional spying operations and intelligence analysis, rather than using its resource to engage in paramilitary activities.
But for now, the CIA will continue to control drone operations in Pakistan, where the US military is not engaged and where locals remain angry about the 355 drone strikes that have occurred on their land, according to the New America Foundation.
The Pentagon will, however, take over the drone program in Yemen, where the US military is already working in cooperation with local forces to combat terrorism.
The administration claims that CIA drone strikes are only authorized against confirmed terrorist threats, but many believe there is more to the covert operations than they will ever know.
If the Pentagon takes over drone operations, congressional lawmakers would have more of an input on the use of these unmanned aerial vehicles.