US Tightens Drone Rules for Pakistan Attacks

Posted November 4th, 2011 at 2:25 am (UTC-5)
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A prominent U.S. newspaper has reported the U.S. intelligence agency has tightened its rules on drone strikes in Pakistan.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday the concessions were made after military and diplomatic officials complained large strikes were damaging relations with Islamabad.

The Journal says the new rules are a result of a “behind-the-scenes” battle between the Central Intelligence Agency, which wanted to pursue suspected militants with few restrictions, and U.S. military and diplomatic officials concerned about the relationship with Pakistan.

The newspaper says the changes include granting the State Department more authority in strike decisions, providing Pakistani leaders with advance notice about more operations, and suspending operations when Pakistani officials visit the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed senior official who said of the changes – “It's not like they took the car keys away from the CIA. There are just more people in the car.”

The newspaper says the changes were prompted by an especially deadly drone strike on March 17 that happened a day after Pakistan agreed to release a CIA contractor who had killed two Pakistanis.

U.S. officials do not publicly acknowledge the use of drone strikes inside Pakistan, but privately have confirmed their existence to various news outlets. Pakistani leaders have condemned the strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty.