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Syria: We Shot Down US Drone

US not sure how Predator went down

(Newser) - Syria's air defenses have shot down a US reconnaissance aircraft in a northwestern province along the Mediterranean coast, according to state media. A US official says a Predator drone went down in Syria yesterday, but it's not clear whether it was shot down. The official, who spoke on... More »

How This Drone Photo Came to Be

AP photographer explains her now-familiar image

(Newser) - It's become the go-to image for editors everywhere to illustrate stories about US drone strategy: A Predator drone flies over Kandahar's air field with a full moon in the background. (It shows up on Newser a lot, too.) With the image in wide circulation of late, Josh... More »

Military Has 64 Drone Bases—in the US

Most are probably for training: Wired

(Newser) - Unmanned aerial drones—they're not just for the mountains of Afghanistan or the deserts of Yemen anymore. There are now 64 drone bases in the United States, including 12 sites for Predator and Reaper drones, types capable of being armed, reports Wired . And there are plans in the works... More »

Miscommunication Caused Friendly Fire Drone Killings

Warning by US-based analysts never sent to operator, ground forces: Report

(Newser) - The two US servicemen killed by a Predator in April died because Marines on the ground and the Air Force crew operating the drone were not told by analysts elsewhere of doubts about the men's identity, reports the LA Times . The incident occurred on April 6 when a Marine... More »

Pakistanis, Taliban Battle for Downed Drone

China, Iran could gain access to drone parts

(Newser) - Pakistani troops battled Taliban fighters over a downed CIA drone today, raising fears that America's enemies may gain access to its military technology. Taliban militants reportedly surrounded the Predator in a tribal region of Pakistan, but were fought off by Pakistani soldiers in a 4-hour battle that left three... More »

Big Brother Drones Are Watching ... Us

Spy planes being used to fight floods, fires

(Newser) - The same kind of unmanned spy drones used to track militants in the badlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan is finding a growing number of uses in the US. Predator drones, already used to patrol America's borders with Mexico and Canada, are being used to fight fires, survey flood damage,... More »

Obama OKs Armed Predator Drones in Libya

Unmanned craft will take out Gadhafi targets

(Newser) - President Obama has approved the use of armed Predator drone aircraft in Libya to improve the precision of low-level attacks on ground targets, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today. The first Predator mission was flown today, but the unmanned aircraft—armed with Hellfire missiles—turned back early because of poor... More »

2 US Troops Killed in Drone Friendly Fire

Military probing Afghanistan deaths

(Newser) - Two American servicemen were killed in Afghanistan last week in what is believed to be the first case of friendly fire deaths involving a Predator drone. The pair were killed by a Hellfire missile after Marines under fire called in a strike, military officials tell NBC. The Marines were viewing... More »

US Drones Hunt al-Qaeda in Yemen

US wary of Afghanistan-esque PR backlash, hasn't fired shots yet

(Newser) - In the wake of the failed Yemen mail bombs, the US is using a familiar weapon to hunt al-Qaeda in Yemen: The controversial Predator drone. Yet no shots have been fired thus far, reports the Washington Post, due to iffy intelligence on insurgents' whereabouts and American fears of re-creating the... More »

US Slams Drone Jockeys for Killing Afghan Civilians

Operators ordered to undergo increased training

(Newser) - The US military has released a harsh self-critique, blaming the “inaccurate and unprofessional” actions of Predator drone operators for the deaths of 23 Afghan civilians in a February strike. Six servicemembers have been disciplined, reports the New York TImes, in a report that underscores the importance being placed on... More »

CIA Terminates Blackwater Deal

Security firm helped load killer drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan

(Newser) - The Central Intelligence Agency has severed ties with private security firm Blackwater, whose employees helped load the drone aircraft tasked with killing targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. CIA chief Leon Panetta killed the contract, a rep tells the New York Times , which was instrumental in revealing the firm’s ties... More »

UN to US: Drone Attacks Could Be Unlawful

Human rights watchdog wants more accountability from CIA in Pakistan

(Newser) - A UN human rights watchdog has some strong misgivings about the CIA drone attacks on suspected terrorists in Pakistan that have killed 600 people since last year. "Extralegal executions" are a violation of international law, Philip Alston tells the BBC. “These Predators are being operated in a... More »

US Drones Back Up Pakistani Offensive

Predators offer intel on militant positions in South Waziristan

(Newser) - The US military is supporting the Pakistani offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan with intelligence and imaging collected by unmanned Predator drones. The support is separate from the CIA program using the drones inside Pakistan to kill terrorist leaders. “We are coordinating with the Pakistanis,” a military... More »

Surge May Be Only Way to Keep US Safe From al-Qaeda

Remote-controlled strikes won't be enough to stop terrorists, say experts

(Newser) - The idea that al-Qaeda could be prevented from regaining a haven in Afghanistan without having American troops in the country is gaining support as the war drags on, but it's unlikely to work, many counterterrorism experts tell the New York Times. Terrorism can't be destroyed by airstrikes or Special Forces... More »

US Offers Pakistan Key Control of Predator Missions

Joint US-Pakistan project seeks to bolster Pakistani government against Taliban

(Newser) - The US military has been flying armed Predator drones over Pakistan and has offered the Pakistani military significant control over the targets and missions, the Los Angeles Times reports. The program—separate from the CIA's drone missions, which Pakistan accuses of violating its sovereignty—began in recent weeks and is... More »

US Pinpoints New Drone Targets in Pakistan

Missile strikes evaluated as part of regional policy review

(Newser) - As the US reviews its controversial air strike program in Pakistan, US and Pakistani intelligence officials are adding new targets to its list, the Wall Street Journal reports. Pakistani officials hope that expanding the drone program to target extremists will win them public support; at the same time, the Obama... More »

US May Strike Deeper Into Pakistan

Drones may target Taliban sanctuaries beyond tribal areas

(Newser) - The Obama administration is considering expanding its covert war in Pakistan beyond tribal areas to strike Taliban havens in regions under the central government's control, reports the New York Times. US commanders believe the Taliban, under the leadership of Mullah Omar, is operating out of sanctuaries in Baluchistan—which borders... More »

Suspected US Strike Kills 30 in Pakistan

(Newser) - An airstrike in Pakistan’s troubled South Waziristan region, likely orchestrated by the US, has killed about 30 people, the Los Angeles Times reports. The dead are thought to be al-Qaeda or Taliban militants; the attack destroyed the compound of an associate of the Taliban leader suspected in the assassination... More »

Controversial US Drones Based in Pakistan: Feinstein

(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... More »

US Airstrikes Signal Tough Approach in Pakistan

(Newser) - US airstrikes on suspected terrorist camps in Pakistan yesterday signal that the Obama administration will continue the aggressive US strategy against extremists in the region, the Washington Post reports. In fact, early signs suggest a tougher approach—and less patience—with the Pakistani government. The attacks, carried out by Predator... More »

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