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CIA often doesn’t know who it kills with drones. Further affirming skepticism in the human rights community that “targeted killing” is a poor description of the CIA’s drone program, a new NBC investigation found that the agency regularly did not know who it was killing with the strikes.

CIA often doesn’t know who it kills with drones

As Richard Engel and Robert Windrem reported, having reviewed months of classified documents: About one of every four of those killed by drones in Pakistan between Sept. 3, 2010, and Oct. 30, 2011, were classified as “other militants,” the documents detail. CIA seeks to expand drone fleet, officials say. How the Gov’t Talks About a Drone Program it Won’t Acknowledge Exists. The Obama administration still doesn’t officially acknowledge the CIA’s drone program, a stance that helps shield it from discussing the program’s most controversial elements.

How the Gov’t Talks About a Drone Program it Won’t Acknowledge Exists

An armed MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft sits in a shelter Oct. 15 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, before a mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson) Related Interactive: Stacking Up the Administration's Drone Claims [1] Stacking Up the Adminstration's Drone Claims. Administration officials—often unnamed—frequently seem to celebrate drone strikes that kill suspected militants.

Stacking Up the Adminstration's Drone Claims

But the administration has also worked against disclosures of less positive aspects of the CIA's program, including how many civilians have been killed. We’ve laid out four years of statements by current and former officials discussing the CIA's drone program, both on and off the record. U.S. Tightens Drone Rules for Its Pakistan Attacks. The Drone Warriors - January 2010 Issue. Petraeus’s New ‘Killing Machine’ The CIA is now “one hell of a killing machine,” said one CIA insider, as lethal drones hunt down “bad guys” selected for death by a ramped-up force of CIA target analysts.

Petraeus’s New ‘Killing Machine’

This shift in emphasis has transformed the spy agency that new director, retired Gen. David Petraeus, inherits, writes Gareth Porter. By Gareth Porter When David Petraeus settles into his new office at the Central Intelligence Agency, he will be taking over an organization whose chief mission has changed in recent years from gathering and analyzing intelligence to waging military campaigns through drone strikes in Pakistan, as well as in Yemen and Somalia. PW Singer on military robots and the future of war. CIA shifts focus to killing targets. In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the agency has undergone a fundamental transformation.

CIA shifts focus to killing targets

Although the CIA continues to gather intelligence and furnish analysis on a vast array of subjects, its focus and resources are increasingly centered on the cold counterterrorism objective of finding targets to capture or kill. The shift has been gradual enough that its magnitude can be difficult to grasp. Drone strikes that once seemed impossibly futuristic are so routine that they rarely attract public attention unless a high-ranking al-Qaeda figure is killed. But framed against the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks — as well as the arrival next week of retired Gen. Hoosier Robot Killers. Afghanistan Pakistan Private Military Contractors. But this is no schoolboy experiment, and the small flying cylinder is no model airplane.

Hoosier Robot Killers. Afghanistan Pakistan Private Military Contractors

It is the Voyeur UAV, or unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a “drone.” According to the website of its manufacturer, West Lafayette-based Lite Machines, Inc., the Voyeur is designed to allow military and law enforcement to conduct surveillance and “human or non-human target acquisition.” The Voyeur can travel as far as 50 miles in the air and can hover over and/or touch its target. Lite Machines is based in the Purdue Research Park, which promotes the fact that the company has received a $10.5 million contract from the U.S. Navy. But the U.S. drone program is also being sharply criticized for its role in targeted killing in Pakistan and beyond, which has caused significant civilian deaths and which legal experts and peace activists label as both illegal and counter-productive. Contract to Spy: Is the U.S. Government using contractors the way you think they are? By CNN Sr.

Contract to Spy: Is the U.S. Government using contractors the way you think they are?

National Security Producer Suzanne Kelly Let's say there is an American overseas, loading Hellfire missiles onto drones that are targeting and killing terrorists. Would it matter to you whether that person is a private contractor and not a U.S. service member? The risks of the C.I.A.’s Predator drones. On August 5th, officials at the Central Intelligence Agency, in Langley, Virginia, watched a live video feed relaying closeup footage of one of the most wanted terrorists in Pakistan.

The risks of the C.I.A.’s Predator drones

Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan, could be seen reclining on the rooftop of his father-in-law’s house, in Zanghara, a hamlet in South Waziristan. It was a hot summer night, and he was joined outside by his wife and his uncle, a medic; at one point, the remarkably crisp images showed that Mehsud, who suffered from diabetes and a kidney ailment, was receiving an intravenous drip. CIA, Military Rely Heavily On Predator Drones. War on terror: Drone strikes vs. capture. If every dark cloud has a silver lining, then perhaps the converse is true when it comes to human endeavors, especially in a time of war.

War on terror: Drone strikes vs. capture

Take the case of using unmanned aerial vehicles -- so-called drones -- in decimating the leadership and lower-echelon ranks of al-Qaida in Afghanistan and in the lawless tribal areas of neighboring Pakistan, where they maintain headquarters, training and supply areas. It's estimated the United States has conducted at least 50 airstrikes using drones this year. Among the dead: Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, al-Qaida's second in command in Southwest Asia, who was killed in Pakistan in August. And more are likely destined to fall by the wayside as Washington continues to ramp up attacks with the silent killers. "Now is the moment, following what happened to (Osama) bin Laden, to put maximum pressure," on al-Qaida, said Leon Panetta, former CIA director.

But "you can't quibble with it too much because we have been successful," he said. Under Panetta, a more aggressive CIA. The plan was a standard one in the CIA's war against extremists in Pakistan: The agency was using a Predator drone to monitor a residential compound; a Taliban leader was expected to arrive shortly; a CIA missile would kill him.

Under Panetta, a more aggressive CIA

C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones. CIA cancels Blackwater drone missile-loading contract. The CIA has cancelled a contract with US private security firm Blackwater for its operatives to load bombs onto drone aircraft in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This Is How the CIA Kills Terrorists Using Predators. Ex-CIA chief acknowledges open secret — drones. By Agence France-PresseFriday, October 7, 2011 16:01 EDT US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday acknowledged what has long been an open secret — that the CIA deploys armed Predator drones to hunt down Islamist militants.

The US government officially declines to admit to the spy agency’s drone strikes, but Panetta — who served as Central Intelligence Agency director until taking over the Pentagon in July — made two casual references to the CIA’s use of robotic aircraft during a visit to US bases in Italy. Allegations That CIA Predator Drones Have Bases in Pakistan. Unmanned CIA aircraft that fly over Pakistan and have enflamed much of the Pakistani population take off and land from at least two heavily guarded airbases inside Pakistan, two Pakistani officials told ABC News.

Such flights have drawn repeated government complaints that they violate Pakistani sovereignty. CIA's Push for Drone War Driven by Internal Needs. WASHINGTON, Sep 5, 2011 (IPS) - When David Petraeus walks into the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday, he will be taking over an organisation whose mission has changed in recent years from gathering and analysing intelligence to waging military campaigns through drone strikes in Pakistan, as well as in Yemen and Somalia. Drone Zone: CIA elimination weapon.