Controversial US Drones Based in Pakistan: Feinstein

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2009 4:59 PM CST
An MQ-4 Predator drone.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Dianne Feinstein said today that Predator drones used to carry out attacks in Pakistan originate there, not in Afghanistan as had been widely assumed, the Los Angeles Times reports. The revelation, which is likely to cause trouble for the Pakistani government, came during testimony by spy chief Dennis Blair. A rep for Feinstein said the information came from a news report, not from the classified information the senator is privy to as chair of the Intelligence Committee.

“As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base,” Feinstein said. The Predator attacks in the country’s lawless tribal region, which have killed Al Qaeda leaders and civilians alike, are unpopular with the Pakistani people, and the new government has denounced them. “What this says is that Pakistani involvement, or at least acquiescence, has been much more extensive than has previously been known,” an expert said, and “has the potential to threaten Pakistani-American relations.”