09:46 GMT +327 March 2017
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    Trump's 'Reaffirming the Right of CIA to Decide Whom to Kill and Where'

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    US President Donald Trump has authorized the CIA to carry out drone strikes against terrorists, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday citing anonymous US officials. Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Laurie Calhoun, the author of the book "We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age."

    US drone campaigns have been repeatedly criticized for civilian casualties. Now there are concerns that the authorization of the CIA to carry out drone strikes against terrorists will lead to even more controversy.

    Trump reportedly extended the authority of the agency shortly after his inauguration. The intelligence agency will now be able to use unmanned aircraft and target terrorists without permission from the Pentagon or the White House.

    Under former US President Barack Obama, the Wall Street Journal noted, drone airstrikes were entirely the privilege of the Pentagon, while the Central Intelligence Agency had the right to use drones only for locating terrorists.

    However, Laurie Calhoun doesn't agree with this point of view, saying that the practice of the CIA managing drone strikes against terrorists existed under the presidency of Barack Obama as well.

    "There is a bit of a problem with the Wall Street Journal's report. The policy where the CIA manages the drone program was in fact Obama's policy for the most time of his administration. In fact Trump is just reinstating what was the US policy in 2013 and probably afterwards as well," Calhoun told Radio Sputnik.

    Thus, concerns that Trump's decision will lead to transparency problems and turn the CIA into a covert military force, came a little too late. According to Calhoun, the "new" policy is actually "not Trump's innovation at all."

    "The drone program was essentially covert for more than a decade," the expert said. "Thus, Trump is just reaffirming the right of the CIA to decide whom to kill and where," Calhoun stated.

    "In fact, when John Brennan, Obama's former advisor, was promoted to be the director of the CIA, I would say at that point the CIA became much more concerned with killing, than with gathering intelligence," she added.

    At the same time, in contrast with Obama who was involved in the decision-making process on the drone strikes, Trump seems to be willing to delegate all the responsibility for making these decisions to the CIA, which, Calhoun believes, is "very unfortunate."

    "It looks like Trump is allowing them to decide what proportion of civilian casualties is acceptable in these operations," she concluded.

    On Monday, US President Donald Trump gave the CIA the green light to conduct drone strikes against suspected militants, according to the Wall Street Journal. The move is part of Trump's plan to enhance counterterrorism activities to destroy Daesh.

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    air operations, drone, CIA, Donald Trump, United States
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    • avatar
      elsa.zardini
      It is pretty obvious, taking everything into account, that President Trump did indeed approve of what this article is explaining, meaning President Trump is saying to the world: take care of yourselves.
    • avatar
      Michael Hill
      There were such great hopes for Mr Trump, alas seems like he's another water boy.
    • landauroj
      It is now wide open the acceptance of murder someone if you have the power to kill and not to be punished by the murder. Now we have, providing you have the means, to kill without to be subject to the country law or international law. There is not nowadays any more a difference between killer gangs, or mercenaries working with power and wealthy nations to defend their status quo. Eventually we will arrive to a situation where killing gangs will compete to show to the other that this or the other have the best team of killers. A league will be formed to give a price to the best killer team, and perhaps to receive an Oscar. At least Obama was consulted about the killing by the CIA, while Trump has avoided that but practically saying to the CIA; Hey if you feel with wished to kill just carry on, do not bother me because usually I am playing Golf.
    • RedBannerin reply toMichael Hill(Show commentHide comment)
      Michael Hill,
      Indeed! I'm with you on this one.

      There is hope worldwide each time a new POTUS is elected, because of the role of the US in current world affairs, and because people are so tired of being lied, deceived, each time by the worst POTUS ever.

      Unfortunately this new POTUS is not improving what people were hoping for. Sooner or later almost every hope vanishes, as each new POTUS is once again equally bad/mean, or even worst than his predecessor...
      What a shame! Looks like it's in their DNA, their genes, as a country, as a people... Shameful indeed!

      Maybe there is nothing really that can improve, coming from Washington and the WH.

      I wonder if those people who defend that the only way for Mankind to have Peace must be preceded by the total annihilation of such a country as the US, are right... Sad, very sad indeed!...
    • JOHN CHUCKMAN
      Well, that about does it for me with Trump. What a waste of time he has proved in people’s hope for change.

      He is going to change nothing worth changing.

      He is identical to Obama or Clinton when it comes to the things which really count, such as war and destruction. His only difference is in style and noise about things that don’t matter much.

      Extrajudicial killing continues, and it remains in the hands of the unaccountable psychopaths running the CIA.

      I could never have imagined such things when I was growing up in America.

      It is beyond sickening.

      So, with this, Trump effectively confirms that elections in America mean almost nothing.

      He will go on ranting about the press and ranting about migrants – fairly trivial matters in for the lives of most Americans - and everything else will be just the same as if Hillary Clinton had been elected.
    • avatar
      l.
      Trump is not better than a mafia guy who give the right to kill. Terrorist ? Who decide who is a terrorist ? Him ? What kind of justice is that ? A suspected terrorist can be killed as well. Any opponent to his point of view is a terrorist ???? The world enter a dangerous path and the democracy will be a story of the past. Because politicians are so corrupted, so many abuse of power....slowly going to oligarchy...then dictatorship. Trump is not better the NK.
    • avatar
      elsa.zardini
      I am in disagreement with comments here. What President Trump has been saying, one way or the other, is that each and every nation of the world has to take care of itself. Almost every country in the world has US Military Bases. Why? Because each country has approved of it. So, if any country does not want that, then people should say it, go home, one way or the other. My penny.
    • avatar
      seanrkearney
      The US has lost its way......yet again
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply toseanrkearney(Show commentHide comment)
      seanrkearney, I do not think so, rather the opposite, the US has found its way. See my comment above. The deplorables need to do something.
    • avatar
      nonyank
      Trump is a man that considers himself above menial decisions like who lives and who dies, a man that doesn't like attending daily breifings and insists his report not exceed one page and not over 9 bullet points!
      This is a man that has lived his life in a glass tower isolated from the rest of the world and wants to take zero responsiblity for anything so when something goes wrong he can do what he always does....point the finger of blame at someone else which is usually a figment of his imagination from his imaginary Trump World.
    • avatar
      Antares Prime
      People shouldn't be surprised about any of this, as he indicated it repeatedly during his campaign.
    • avatar
      Normpich
      The "Abominal" man, and his Appetite to brand anyone person or group of persons, TERRORIST, is simply pathetic and Criminal. Amongst all the innocent civilians Massacred in your numerous past & present Wars and/or Military/Mercenary intervention, your definition of Terrorist is more inclined to mean civilians. The numbers of proven Terrorist killed versus innocent civilians Masacred, speaks for itself.
      On the other hand, Mr. Trump should indeed let the rest of the World take care of themselves, and he can really Assist by closing all his overseas Military/Spy installations, bring those Sexually Deranged military Home to be part of "Making America Great Again", and in the processs save Trillions of Wasted $$$$.
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