Early after taking office, President trump visited CIA headquarters, and among the topics discussed was the global drone war. President Trump came out of the tour, as he has so many tours, “impressed” with what he saw and wanting more of that.
In this case, Trump told CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other officials that he wants an even more aggressive drone posture from the CIA, and granted them broad autonomy in who to kill and when. This included allowing CIA strikes in Syria, something which heretofore hadn’t been mentioned.
Pompeo has recently pushed for permission to expand the CIA’s drone war into Afghanistan, despite objections from the Pentagon. Military officials rightly fear that the CIA’s aggressive strikes in Afghanistan could lead to blowback against US ground troops there.
Even that may just be the tip of the iceberg, however, as officials say the White House is drafting a new written policy on drone operations across the world which would greatly expand the CIA’s ability to carry out strikes not just in its typical handful of countries, but into warzones the Pentagon is already operating in.