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Obama may let CIA run more ‘hunter-killer’ teams roam abroad

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, November 1, 2010 9:46 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Support is growing in the US military and administration of President Barack Obama for shifting to the CIA operational control over elite special forces teams secretly in Yemen, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Citing unnamed officials, the newspaper said the foiled mail bombing plot by suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen has added urgency to an administration review of expanded military options.

Officials said such a shift would allow the United States to strike suspected militant targets unilaterally with greater stealth and speed, the report said.

Wrote the Journal reporters:

The foiled mail bombing plot by suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen has added urgency to an Obama administration review of expanded military options that include putting elite U.S. hunter-killer teams that operate secretly in the country under Central Intelligence Agency authority.

Officials said support was growing both within the military and the administration for shifting more operational control to the CIA—a move that would allow the U.S. to strike suspected terrorist targets unilaterally with greater stealth and speed.

Allowing the U.S. military’s Special Operations Command units to operate under the CIA would give the U.S. greater leeway to strike at militants even without the explicit blessing of the Yemeni government. In addition to streamlining the launching of strikes, it would provide deniability to the Yemeni government because the CIA operations would be covert. The White House is already considering adding armed CIA drones to the arsenal against militants in Yemen, mirroring the agency’s Pakistan campaign.

Allowing US Special Operations Command units to operate under the Central Intelligence Agency would also give the United States greater leeway to strike without the explicit blessing of the Yemeni government, the paper said.

“The CIA conducts covert operations based on presidential findings, which can be expanded or altered as needed,” the reporters note. “Congressional oversight is required but the information is more tightly controlled than for military operations. For example, when the military conducts missions in a friendly country, it operates with the consent of the local government.”

In addition to streamlining the launching of strikes, it would allow the Yemeni government deniability because the CIA operations would be covert, The Journal said.

The White House is already considering adding armed CIA drones to the arsenal against militants in Yemen, the paper said.

The full Journal story is available here.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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