The White House has loosened restrictions on the use of US drones against suspected militants in Yemen, following a CIA request. Now, the CIA and military can target militants seen as dangerous to the US without knowing their names, as is the case in Pakistan, the Wall Street Journal reports. But debate continues in Washington over how best to address what's seen as an expanded al-Qaeda threat in the country.
Some military and CIA members feel that the US needs to further expand a crackdown against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, arguing that the threat has only grown since the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. But Yemen's opposition and intelligence community say the drones are only helping al-Qaeda rally new members. What's more, "every Yemeni is armed," notes an official. "So how can they differentiate between suspected militants and armed Yemenis?" But US officials say they won't make rash decisions. When considering a target, "you don't have to have a 10-sheet dossier on him. But you have to know the activities this person has been engaged in," says one.