The US loves killing people in Pakistan with drones because it's cheap and easy, and now it will also be cheap and easy in Yemen. Why? The government just relaxed its own rules. It was so simple all along!
The Wall Street Journal reports that the "Obama administration has given the Central Intelligence Agency and US military greater leeway to target suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen with drones, responding to worries a new haven is being established from which to mount attacks on the West". Leeway, baby. How much leeway? A lot of leeway:
The policy shift, as described by senior U.S. officials, includes targeting fighters whose names aren't known but who are deemed to be high-value terrorism targets or threats to the U.S.
This is interesting for two reasons:
1. "Deemed to be a high-value terrorism target" can mean virtually anything, and has no inherent oversight. Who deems? You don't deem, I can tell you that much. The CIA is doing the deeming, and can essentially boil down to "we don't like you."
2. If the CIA doesn't know what someone's name is, how are they telling 2A) Who the hell is this person? 2B) How is this mystery person dangerous? Does this mean that a human — seen via MQ-9 Reaper DroneCam — picking up a gun, drawing a map of the United States, shooting the map, and then heading to the airport, becomes a "high-value terrorism target?" How good can the intelligence gathered on a "high target terrorism target" possibly be if the CIA doesn't even know the guy's name? No matter — kaboom. [WSJ]