Trump gives Central Intelligence Agency power to conduct drone strikes: United States media

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Under former President Barack Obama, covert operations flourished with the widely-adopted use of killer drones, though some internal policies sought to keep those potentially boundless war powers in check.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) can now launch drone strikes against terrorists without the USA military's cooperation, the Wall Street Journal reports.

While U.S. officials said Mr. Trump's action specifically applied to the CIA's ability to operate in Syria, it means the agency eventually could become empowered under Mr. Trump to once again conduct covert strikes in other places where the targeting militants in Yemen, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere.

During the Obama administration, CIA drones were used to carry out reconnaissance and collect intelligence to locate suspected terrorists, but attacks were then carried out by the military, Efe news reported.

The CIA and the White House have not yet responded to the authenticity of the news report. But Trump is on course to reverse many of this.

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"This allowance of the Central Intelligence Agency to exercise drone operations is an invitation for war all over the planet and the more the United States is perceived as an authoritarian police power dropping bombs and exercising drone strikes all over the world, the more the world is going to unite and rebel against that oppressive force", he said.

"The Trump administration is also giving the military more authority to conduct operations on its own without first getting a sign off from the Pentagon or the White House", the report said.

In July, the U.S government accepted responsibility for inadvertently killing up to 116 civilians in strikes in countries where America is not at war.

Perhaps "the most vulnerable standard", according to one USA counterterrorism official involved in the discussions, is that US officials must prove that a potential target outside of a war zone poses a "continuing and imminent threat to Americans" before action is taken. The CIA and US military operate under different legal authorities.

Under the Obama administration, the military was in charge of promoting transparency and accountability.