US to Arm Italian Drones

Move could open floodgates for rest of NATO, other allies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2012 8:09 AM CDT
This undated photo shows an unmanned drone used to patrol the US-Canadian border.   (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

(Newser) – Pretty soon, every cool kid on the block may have genuine American-made robot killing machines. The Obama administration plans to arm Italy's Reaper drone fleet, sources tell the Wall Street Journal, which will make it difficult for Washington to deny such capabilities to the rest of its NATO allies. Italy would become just the second foreign power with US-armed drones—the other being Britain—and officials say they'd initially use the newfound firepower in Afghanistan.

The White House gave Congress an unusually long 40-day "pre-notification" period to review the sale, but that period ended Sunday with no objections. Now the House and Senate would have to issue a joint resolution of disapproval to block the move, something members of both parties say is unlikely. Still, the sale isn't without its detractors. "America's cutting-edge high technology should not be shared," Dianne Feinstein said. "I am concerned by the proliferation of these weapons systems."

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