Bill would prohibit CIA drone strikes abroad

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) recently introduced legislation that would prohibit the CIA from using unmanned drones to carry out strikes abroad and would vest that authority solely in the Department of Defense.

A classified section of the omnibus federal spending bill, which was recently signed into law, allows the CIA to continuing carrying out drone strikes with limited DoD involvement.

Burgess said the CIA’s role has been to gather intelligence that the DoD and armed forces use to carry out military action, but the spending bill’s classified section could “dangerously blur” the distinction between the agencies.

“The CIA historically has never been involved in strategic defense work other than gathering information that is of use to our highest-ranking military officials, who are trained specifically to do this work,” Burgess said. “By giving our intelligence community exclusive authority to do what should be the work of DoD, it compromises CIA’s ability to do its core intelligence-gathering work, and frankly, it oversteps its mission statement by a long shot.”

Burgess’ legislation was referred to intelligence and armed services committees for review.

The bill’s passage is critical, Burgess said, because the DoD is the only agency that should be authorized to carry out unmanned drone strikes abroad.