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.
Now, as many feared, it seems that his successor President Donald Trump is seeking to undo those restraints, making it easier to order attacks outside of war zones, without approval or oversight, and lowering the standard for what defines an “acceptable” civilian casualty.
On Monday the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump has granted the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) broad powers to conduct lethal drone strikes. While the CIA under Obama was by no means “handcuffed,” as journalist Jeremy Scahill put it, the former president tried to keep covert operations limited to the Department of Defense’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) unit.
As Axios‘ Shannon Vavra explains, the new policy change matters because “[t]he CIA doesn’t have to report the number