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White House Ups Drone Strikes, Tolerates More Civilian Deaths

"Some of the Obama administration rules were getting in the way of good strikes," one official said

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    White House Ups Drone Strikes, Tolerates More Civilian Deaths
    AP, File
    In this Jan. 31, 2010, file photo, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. The Trump administration is shifting policy on drone strikes against al Qaeda and ISIS, granting the CIA and military more autonomy, NBC News reported. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

    The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News.

    The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones — "areas of active hostilities" in Pentagon parlance — which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible.

    That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.

    "Some of the Obama administration rules were getting in the way of good strikes," said one U.S. official briefed on the matter.