Obama counterterrorism “playbook” will let CIA keep pounding Pakistan with drones

A counterterrorism manual designed to establish rules for targeted drone strikes leaves open major exemptions for drone strikes in Pakistan, U.S. officials say.
By Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung, Published: January 19

The Obama administration is nearing completion of a detailed counterterrorism manual that is designed to establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations but leaves open a major exemption for the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan, U.S. officials said.

The carve-out would allow the CIA to continue pounding al-Qaeda and Taliban targets for a year or more before the agency is forced to comply with more stringent rules spelled out in a classified document that officials have described as a counterterrorism “playbook.”

The document, which is expected to be submitted to President Obama for final approval within weeks, marks the culmination of a year-long effort by the White House to codify its counterterrorism policies and create a guide for lethal operations through Obama’s second term.

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