Escalation: U.S. to use CIA drones in Yemen as state counterterrorism breaks down

The plan to move CIA-operated Predator and other unmanned aircraft into the region reflects a decision by President Obama that the al-Qaeda threat in Yemen has grown so serious that patrols by U.S. military drones are not enough.

U.S. officials said the CIA would operate alongside, and in close coordination with, the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, which has been flying Predators and other remotely piloted planes over Yemen for much of the past year.

Because it operates under different legal authorities than the military, the CIA may have greater latitude to carry out strikes if the political climate shifts in Yemen and cooperation with American forces is diminished or cut off…

The addition of CIA drones also addresses a growing concern inside the Joint Special Operations Command that the military-run drone campaign in Yemen was not getting adequate resources, given the seriousness of the threat posed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemen-based offshoot of the terrorist group is known.