Trump has given unprecedented power to the CIA to expand its killing program and launch drone strikes against targets, drone strikes that have no legal obligation for public disclosure and do not require the the approval of the Pentagon.
In a distinct change to Obama's policies, which allowed the CIA to hunt and surveil suspected terror targets but required the permission of the military to physically launch a missile strike, The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump has given the CIA authority to pull the trigger on its own strikes. This decision came shortly after his inauguration, and has already been used in a strike against al Qaeda deputy Abu al-Khayr al-Masri in February, the newspaper reports.
The unnamed US officials speaking to the Journal said that the new authority the CIA possesses can only be used for operations in Syria, but there are fears the CIA could easily expand its remit to outside of the country.
Obama's decision to allow the military to preside over the final call on drone strikes, rather than the CIA, promoted heightened transparency and public disclosure on America's drone operations. The CIA can now kill at will, unaffected by the need for public disclosure.
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