US military may take over CIA drone operations: Report
Washington: The US is considering shifting lethal drone operations run by the CIA in countries like Pakistan over to the military for achieving "greater transparency" in who is being targeted, a media report said on Thursday.
The proposal is under "serious consideration," a US official said.
The official said no final decision has been made, and that there is no specific time frame in place, but that the change is being considered "due to a desire for greater transparency in who is being targeted."
By law, the military is not able to act covertly the way the CIA can, and it must answer to Congress.
The military would operate and fly the drones, an administration official was quoted the CNN as saying, but targeting would still be done jointly by various agencies.
The shift would happen over time.
"It won't happen overnight," the US official said, adding that operations in some countries would transfer to US military control before other nations.
"Yemen is an example of one of the first programmes that could shift," the official said, while shifting the responsibility for the programme that operates in Pakistan "would be much further out."
CIA Director John Brennan has expressed a desire to move the intelligence agency back to traditional intelligence-collecting.
"The CIA should not be doing traditional military activities and operations," Brennan said at his confirmation hearing.
The transfer is being contemplated at a time when US drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere have been facing increasing scrutiny and questions from human rights groups who say that innocent lives are being lost because of such covert operations.