WASHINGTON (AP) — At the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, it was a cause for celebration: Meticulous intelligence analysis backed by Hellfire missiles had paid off, once again.
The CIA launched a drone strike last month on a Yemeni beach at three men it determined were al-Qaida militants. One of them turned out to be Nasser al-Wahishi, about as important a figure as agency man-hunters could hope to eliminate. He had been both al-Qaida’s second in command and the leader of the group’s dangerous Yemeni affiliate.
A task force at the Henry L. Stimson Center took a different view in April, raising questions about the long-term effects of killing terrorists with drones.
“We are concerned that the Obama administration’s heavy reliance on targeted killings as a pillar of U.S. counterterrorism strategy rests on questionable assumptions, and risks increasing instability and escalating conflicts,” concluded the task force, co-chaired by Brooks and retired Gen. John Abizaid.
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