Intelligence Gaps Mount as US Continues Yemen Drone Strikes

Officials Blame Houthi Rebels, But Had Little Intel to Start With

Fresh off of a Monday drone strike which rights groups say killed a 12-year-old student, there are growing indications that the US drone program in Yemen is struggling with “intelligence gaps.”

Since officials can’t tell the different between a 12-year-old student and “al-Qaeda,” that’s an understatement, and they are trying to blame this on the recent Houthi takeover in Sanaa.

Yet the reality is that US drone strikes have had a spotty history of killing civilians everywhere and always, and the real change with the ouster of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is the loss of a president willing to shoulder the blame for large civilian casualties in US attacks.

The admission of intelligence gaps is merely stating the obvious, but the timing, right after Hadi’s ouster, is meant to shift the blame, because officials have made clear that, intelligence or no, the missiles will continue to fall on Yemen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of