The C.I.A. is pushing for expanded powers to carry out covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other active war zones, a proposal that the White House appears to favor despite the misgivings of some at the Pentagon, according to current and former intelligence and military officials.
If approved by President Trump, it would mark the first time the C.I.A. has had such powers in Afghanistan, expanding beyond its existing authority to carry out covert strikes against Al Qaeda and other terrorist targets across the border in Pakistan. Quoted from New York times.
Meanwhile, the proposed shift has raised concerns among critics that the Trump administration would open the way for broader C.I.A. strikes in such countries as Libya, Somalia and Yemen, where the United States is fighting the Islamic State, Al Qaeda or both.
But the C.I.A.’s director, Mike Pompeo, has made a forceful case to Mr. Trump in recent weeks that the Obama-era arrangement needlessly limited the United States’ ability to conduct counterterrorism operations.
“When we’ve asked for more authorities, we’ve been given it. When we ask for more resources, we get it,” said Mr. Pompeo.
“If I were them [terrorist leaders], I’d count my days,” Mr. Pompeo added.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not resisted the C.I.A. proposal, administration officials said, but other Pentagon officials question the expansion of C.I.A. authorities in Afghanistan or elsewhere, asking what the agency can do that the military cannot.