On Tuesday, Foreign Policy reported some surprising news: despite earlier rumors, the CIA will continue running its drone program separately from the Pentagon, at least for the time being. More than six months after the initial reports, progress has slowed to a standstill. It might sound like a simple procedural shift, but the decision is probably the most consequential choice the president has faced on drones so far, and keeping unmanned strikes in the CIA arsenal is exactly what many drone activists were trying to stop. As Hina Shamsi of the ACLU put it, "Getting the CIA out of the killing business is critically important, just like getting it out of the torture and detention business was." The Council on Foreign Relations had been lobbying hard for the change, calling it "a meaningful first step toward greater transparency." So why are the CIA’s drones such a problem?
"Getting the CIA out of the killing business is critically important."The answer lies in the strange protocol of drone strikes, where the CIA faces fewer checks and less accountability than the Pentagon.