Strikes carried out by American drones dropped off precipitously during President Obama's first term in office, from over 100 in 2010 to less than half that in following years, because the authority to carry out strikes was transferred from the CIA to the Pentagon.
Trump has quietly reversed the Obama-era reform and given the CIA authority to carry out drone strikes again
President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing U.S. officials.
The move would be a change from the policy of former President Barack Obama's administration of limiting the CIA's paramilitary role, the newspaper reported.
The White House, the U.S. Department of Defense and the CIA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
There's so much that could be said about this it's hard to know where to begin, but I am immediately reminded of Code Pink's ridiculous, tone-deaf, PETA-esque protests of President Obama and The Intercept's more recent estimation that Hillary Clinton would be a great warmonger while Donald Trump would be a peace dove. I'm reminded of Senator Rand Paul engaging in anti-drone filibuster marathons only to emerge the next day and say he'd be Okay with using a drone against petty liquor store thieves.
It remains to be seen if Trump's inevitable, deadly blunders like the one recently seen in Yemen will be met with as much zealous opposition as President Obama was met with when he actually reformed the system. Our measures of hypocrisy will be tested in the coming years.
This is purely speculation, but the disastrous raid in Yemen could be one major reason why Trump is transferring more authority to the CIA whose operations can more easily be kept secret. Yemen forbid American forces from launching ground assaults after the recent raid.