CIA Seeks to Expand Drone Fleet

Agency transforming into secret army?
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 19, 2012 1:21 AM CDT
Updated Oct 19, 2012 5:00 AM CDT
A US Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field on a moon-lit night.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – The CIA is pressing the White House to significantly expand its fleet of armed drones, reports the Washington Post. More drones would boost the CIA's operations of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, and elsewhere when needed, and would continue to transform the secretive agency into a paramilitary force, notes the Post. If the plan is approved, the CIA could add up to 10 drones to a fleet that has ranged up to 35 over the last few years.

The Pentagon is reportedly not opposing the plan.The proposal will have to be evaluated by a group headed by President Obama’s counter­terrorism adviser, John Brennan, according to officials. Even though the CIA is seeking to boost its drone fleet some 30%, drones at its disposal would still be dwarfed by those operated by the US military. The Air Force alone operates 246 Predators, Reapers, and Global Hawks, while the Army, Navy, and Marines have hundreds of other remotely piloted craft, reports the Post. (Read more CIA stories.)

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