Obama’s Afghan plan includes expanding CIA ops in Pakistan

Predator drone

Predator drone

By I. ALLEN & J. FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The Obama Administration’s plan to increase US military presence in Afghanistan includes expanding the CIA’s work in neighboring Pakistan, a country with which the US is officially not at war. An article published yesterday in The New York Times notes that the President has authorized the CIA to expand its Predator drone assassination program to include strikes in places like Baluchistan, which are outside Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas and far from the Afghan-Pakistani border. This development represents a major policy victory for the hawkish wing in the Pentagon’s senior leadership, which has been pressing Obama’s advisors to expand CIA assassination operations deeper into Pakistan since November of 2008. It also further reveals the Obama Administration’s policy preference toward undercover operations with a strong deniability proponent. The Times article quotes a US “government official [who] agreed to speak […] on the condition of anonymity” about the drone strike program, which it correctly describes as “[o]ne of Washington’s worst-kept secrets”. The official told the paper that the CIA program has killed “more than 400” enemy fighters, and said that “just over 20” civilians have lost their lives in about 80 strikes so far. These claims vary widely from publicly available studies, which suggest that as many as many as 320 Pakistani civilians may have been killed by CIA strikes and that around 80% of the strikes have failed to kill what the US Pentagon calls “high value targets”. Moreover, the decision by the Obama White House to intensify the CIA strikes in Pakistan appears to disregard the program’s contribution to rising anti-Americanism in Pakistan (only 9% of Pakistanis approve of it), as well as the legal and ethical challenges that it poses. IntelNews has noted before that the CIA strikes amount to “deliberate assassinations of suspected terrorists, which are planned and implemented outside the framework of even elementary judicial oversight”. This observation has not escaped several active and veteran CIA professionals, as well as lay observers, who have argued that the CIA assassination program “has occurred with remarkably little public discussion, given that it represents a radically new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force. And, because of the CIA program’s secrecy, there is no visible system of accountability in place, despite the fact that the agency has killed many civilians inside a politically fragile, nuclear-armed country with which the US is not at war”.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Obama’s Afghan plan includes expanding CIA ops in Pakistan

  1. Thanks for pointing out the Assassination Drones use by the U.S. I have been talking about this for a long time. Take a look at today’s post and there’s more stories at my site for your viewing. I’m adding you to my Blog List.

    March on Empire: Assassination Drones headed to Quetta, Balochistan? More Innocents to Die? Leon Panetta, you listening? Re-Read a few Kurdish Border stories and Balochistan Posts here

  2. intelNews says:

    Interesting blog on a very important topic. Link reciprocated. [IA]

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