More than two months since President Obama heralded sharp changes in America’s drone operations including promises of increased transparency, little has actually changed.
Despite announcements by administrative officials in late May stating that the “bulk of drone operations would shift to the Pentagon from the Central Intelligence Agency,” America’s clandestine aerial combat maneuvers in Pakistan remain in the CIA’s hands.
Although Secretary of State John Kerry commented earlier this month during a televised interview in Pakistan that the United States had a “timeline” to end drone strikes and that “we hope it’s going to be very, very soon,” the State Department immediately issued a statement to the contrary: there is no timetable to end the targeted killing program in Pakistan’s western mountains.
The CIA carried out three more strikes in Yemen last week and four people suspected of al-Qaeda militancy were killed last Monday, not long before American and British diplomats were told to evacuate their embassies amid reports of potential al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. And in a speech Friday intended to ease concerns over US surveillance and lack of transparency, President Obama declined to speak about the recent drone strikes in Yemen, saying he would not talk about counterterrorism operations.