US Assumes Pakistan Gives ‘Tacit Consent’ for Drone Strikes

Cites Lack of Response to Faxes as Basis

If the CIA sends you a fax telling you they plan to bomb something, whatever you do, respond.

That’s the lesson from today’s defense of the Obama Administration’s massive drone strike program against Pakistan, which claims that the CIA has sent faxes saying they plan more drone strikes to someone within Pakistan’s ISI and never heard back.

That amounts to “tacit consent,” as far as the administration is concerned, and apparently a level of consent that trumps the many, many public complaints by the Pakistani government about such strikes violating their national sovereignty.

The claims reflect the administration’s ongoing belief that when Pakistan’s government publicly condemns the strikes they don’t really mean it, and are only doing so for political gain because the strikes are so hugely unpopular domestically.

The US has struggle to find a legal justification for the strikes, and has often just blown off the direct questions about the program by claim its “classified.” The fax machine defense may be a really difficult sell however, and may prompt Pakistan’s ISI to check their incoming lines more often.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.