Last week the Los Angeles Times reported on a 2008 authorization by the Bush administration, continued by the Obama administration, that expanded the US drone attacks in Pakistan. Citing current and former counterterrorism officials, the paper reported that the CIA had received “secret permission to attack a wider range of targets” allowing the Agency to rely on “pattern of life” analysis.
“The information then is used to target suspected militants, even when their full identities are not known,” according to the report. “Previously, the CIA was restricted in most cases to killing only individuals whose names were on an approved list. The new rules have transformed the program from a narrow effort aimed at killing top Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders into a large-scale campaign of airstrikes in which few militants are off-limits, as long as they are deemed to pose a threat to the U.S., the officials said.”