U.S. may ease limits on drone strikes: NY Times



The Trump administration is preparing to relax Obama-era rules on drone strikes and commando raids, paving the way for more frequent operations against Islamic State and other militant groups, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing officials familiar with the internal deliberations.

President Donald Trump’s advisers have proposed relaxing a rule that generally limits drone strikes and raids to high-level militants deemed to pose a “continuing and imminent threat” to Americans, the Times said. The rule would be expanded to include foot-soldiers, it said.

The advisers also want to eliminate a rule that drone strikes and raids by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency undergo high-level vetting, according to the Times.

Officials have agreed they should keep in place a requirement of “near certainty” that no civilian bystanders will be killed, the newspaper said.

A Cabinet-level committee approved the proposed rules on Sept. 14 and sent them to Trump for his expected signature, the Times said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Former President Barack Obama established the rules in 2013 on operations by the military or the CIA outside of war zones like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.