White House Gives CIA OK to Bomb Yemen at Will

No need for agency to know targets' names before launching drone strike
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2012 6:48 AM CDT
White House Gives CIA OK to Bomb Yemen at Will
Yemeni army soldiers with the support of local tribes are seen as they search for militant supporters of al-Qaeda in the southern Yemen town of Loder, in Abyan province, on April 25, 2012.   (Getty Images)

The White House has loosened restrictions on the use of US drones against suspected militants in Yemen, following a CIA request. Now, the CIA and military can target militants seen as dangerous to the US without knowing their names, as is the case in Pakistan, the Wall Street Journal reports. But debate continues in Washington over how best to address what's seen as an expanded al-Qaeda threat in the country.

Some military and CIA members feel that the US needs to further expand a crackdown against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, arguing that the threat has only grown since the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. But Yemen's opposition and intelligence community say the drones are only helping al-Qaeda rally new members. What's more, "every Yemeni is armed," notes an official. "So how can they differentiate between suspected militants and armed Yemenis?" But US officials say they won't make rash decisions. When considering a target, "you don't have to have a 10-sheet dossier on him. But you have to know the activities this person has been engaged in," says one. (More President Obama stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.