CIA Seeks New Authority To Expand Yemen Drone Campaign

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In this June 13, 2010, file photo a U.S. Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in Afghanistan. Hunting al-Qaida targets from Pakistan to Afghanistan, Yemen to Somalia, the fleet of U.S. armed Predator and Reaper drones that killed two American members of al-Qaida in Yemen Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, are the night stalkers of the expanded U.S. war on terrorists. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, Pool, File) | AP File

The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who will be killed, U.S. officials said.

Securing permission to use “signature strikes” would allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior, such as imagery showing militants gathering at known al-Qaeda compounds or unloading explosives.

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