National Security Brief: DOD To Take Over Some CIA Drone Programs

(Credit: CBS News)

The Obama administration is reportedly looking to shift some of the responsibility of U.S. drone operations from the CIA to the Defense Department, in an effort to make part of its counter-terror targeted killing program less secretive and more in line with international law.

It’s unclear at this point what that shift will look like. The Daily Beast reported in March that “the CIA is close to taking a major step toward getting out of the targeted killing business” but Reuters reported on Tuesday that the CIA will keep control of its secret drone program in Pakistan.

The draft document outlining the plans, the Wall Street Journal reports, “reflects a growing consensus within the Obama administration that the long-term future of the program lies with the military, where U.S. officials say it will be on firmer legal footing and be more transparent.”

President Obama is expected to deliver a major speech on Thursday outlining his administration’s counterterrorism policies, including, one White House official said, “our military, diplomatic, intelligence and legal efforts.”

“Barack Obama has got to be concerned about his legacy,” a “former adviser” told the Daily Beast back in March. “He doesn’t want drones to become his Guantánamo.”

In other news:

  • The Washington Post reports: Chinese hackers who breached Google’s servers several years ago gained access to a sensitive database with years’ worth of information about U.S. surveillance targets, according to current and former government officials.
  • The New York Times reports: By late this summer, the State Department plans to send dozens of additional diplomatic security agents to high-threat embassies, install millions of dollars of advanced fire-survival gear and surveillance cameras in those diplomatic posts, and improve training for employees headed to the riskiest missions.
  • The Times also reports: Lebanon reeled Monday from the twin realizations that Hezbollah, the nation’s most powerful military and political organization, was plunging deeper into a war the country has tried to stay out of, and that the group was taking unaccustomed losses.