Shifting from the drone policy of the Obama administration, President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants, anonymous U.S. officials said. Under the Obama administration, the CIA used drones and other intelligence resources to locate suspected terrorists and then the military conducted the actual strike. Although officials said that the new authority under Trump is only for CIA's operations in Syria, it is likely the CIA may be able to conduct drone strikes in other areas as well. "There are a lot of problems with the drone program and the targeted killing program, but the CIA should be out of the business of ordering lethal strikes," said Christopher Anders, deputy director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The next president will inherit the so-called drones "playbook" created by the Obama administration in 2013 that dictated policy on drone strikes, the president's main way of striking against terrorism. The Obama administration claimed that 2,436 people were killed in 473 counter-terrorism strikes between January 2009 and the end of last year. Of those killed, the administration claimed between 64 and 116 were civilians, Vox reported. Trump has taken a particularly hard-line stance on fighting terrorism, including deliberately killing civilian families of terrorists, bringing back waterboarding and putting American terrorism suspects on military trial in a Guantánamo Bay prison.