There's a Secret Provision in Congress' Spending Bill
It would kill Obama's plans to take the drone program out of CIA hands
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 16, 2014 7:54 AM CST
In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – Congress' $1.1 trillion spending bill contains a secret provision torpedoing President Obama's plans to pass the drone program from the CIA to the Pentagon. In a classified annex, the bill specifically prohibits any funds being used to facilitate such a transfer, the Washington Post reports. Obama wants to shift the CIA from its paramilitary footing back to an intelligence one, and perhaps bring greater transparency to the drone program. But lawmakers don't trust the military with the keys.

One source said the provision was more complicated than simply withholding money for the switch, and former officials said it could contain language forcing the military to demonstrate its targeting procedures were up to CIA standards. Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein last year said she'd "really have to be convinced" that the military could exercise as much "patience and discretion" as the CIA in avoiding civilian casualties, statements she says she stands behind. The military didn't help its case last month either by hitting a wedding party in Yemen; in an op-ed yesterday, Yemen's minister for human rights said that strike had sent a "wave of outrage" across the country. Yesterday also saw a drone strike kill a Yemeni farmer.

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Jan 17, 2014 9:07 PM CST
The CIA has had it's on military force for a long time! The Flying Tigers back pre WW2 were a secretly fund through the OSS Pre CIA, Who do you think ran America Airline (Not to be confused with American Air Line) in Vietnam. Do somee digging and you just might be surprised!
Jan 16, 2014 8:57 PM CST
"Yemen's minister for human rights said that strike had sent a "wave of outrage" across the country." Why isn't there a wave of outrage across THIS country?
Jan 16, 2014 6:02 PM CST
I don't know. I think the military would handle the "avoid collateral damage as much as possible" problem a lot better then the CIA. The CIA seems to be like, they're Muslims & they're walking next to that guy we suspect is a terrorist, just bomb 'em all. Next thing we hear, oops, that was a wedding party & now there are 90 relatives all swearing allegiance to Al Qaeda & jihad against the U.S. I think Congress blew it on this one. The military brass consults with lawyers supposedly before they order our soldiers to shoot to kill our enemies in time of war. Does the CIA do the same? From the amount of collateral damage they've created the past decade, that would be hard to believe if they're consulting with the same kinds of lawyers the military consults with before blowing up Muslim terrorists overseas. The question is, why would DiFi & Congress want to derail Obama's good idea. Hmm.