CIA wants more drones

The spy agency continues expanding into a paramilitary force

Topics: CIA, Pakistan, Terrorism, Yemen, David Petraeus, Drones, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,

CIA wants more drones Reaper drone in flight (Wikimedia)

The CIA has asked the White House for a significant expansion in its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles. If approved, the agency could add as many as 10 drones to an inventory of between 30 and 35 already amassed. The Washington Post reported Thursday:

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.

According to the WaPo’s official source, if Petraeus’ request is fulfilled, the move would “extend the spy service’s decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force.” Indeed, the CIA’s drone program has developed extensively and controversially in recent years. As Salon noted, a recent study found that the agency’s strikes in Pakistan were “counter-productive” and terrorized civilians. Meanwhile, as WaPo noted Thursday, the “campaign of U.S. airstrikes in Yemen has heated up,” with 35 strikes by the spy agency this year.



The request for more drones reflects increasing concerns about growing militant strongholds in the Middle East and North Africa. One unnamed congressional official also told WaPo that Petraeus’ request suggests the CIA director might be missing the resources (including scores of drones) he had under his control as U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He’s not used to the small budget over there,” the official said.

The proposal for more drones will be considered by a group led by President Obama’s counter­terrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, and including officials from the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department. The same group directly helps decide which suspected terrorists are added to the infamous “kill” lists.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>