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CIA’s Drones Join Shadow War Over Yemen

Consider it the capstone to CIA Director Leon Panetta’s command of the drone war: the CIA’s drones are on their way to Yemen.

What started in Pakistan’s tribal areas will now patrol the increasingly ungoverned spaces inside Yemen, hunting al-Qaida terrorists. The drone war resumed after nearly nine years of hiatus on May 5, when missiles fired by unmanned planes sought two brothers in central Yemen thought to be al-Qaida operatives.

Only those drones were flown by the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), not the CIA. Now the agency will work alongside JSOC to export its Pakistan experience conducting widespread drone strikes into a second country. Phase one, already underway, is to use the drones’ surveillance functions to collect intel for JSOC. Once it has a sufficient lay of the land, it’ll begin its own targeting killing program, the Wall Street Journal reports, with help from Saudi Arabia’s “extensive network of on-the-ground informants.”


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