TIME National Security

Obama Calls on Senate to Act on Patriot Act During Recess

Barack Obama,
Pablo Martinez Monsivais—AP President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

“I strongly urge the Senate to work through this recess and make sure that they identify a way to get this done,” Obama said Tuesday

President Obama called on the Senate Tuesday to work through their early summer vacation in order to keep the Patriot Act from expiring in a week.

“I strongly urge the Senate to work through this recess and make sure that they identify a way to get this done,” Obama said, following a meeting with the NATO Secretary General in the Oval Office.

The Senate left town ahead of Memorial Day without passing a bill to either reauthorize or reform the Patriot Act, including portions that have given the National Security Agency leeway to collect massive amounts of data on American’s telephone calls. The House of Representatives came to an agreement and reformed the controversial program, which was revealed in leaks by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. The Senate, however, failed to pass the USA Freedom Act before leaving Washington.

The President said Tuesday that the USA Freedom Act “strikes an appropriate balance” between the intelligence community and American’s privacy, but said failing to affirm remaining Patriot Act authorities puts the nation’s security at risk.

“You have a whole range of authorities that are also embodied in the Patriot Act that are non-controversial, that everybody agrees are necessary to keep us safe and secure,” Obama said. “Those also are at risk of lapsing. So this needs to get done.”

Leaders of both the House and the Senate have been in conversations about a compromise bill that would allow the retention of phone records to continue, with the information remaining stored at the phone companies for a set number of years, where it could be searched by government officials with a court order. Currently, the information is retained by the government, a fact that led Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican presidential candidate, to seize the floor of the Senate late last week for 11 hours, helping to prevent a resolution of the issue before the recess.

The Patriot Act expires on June 1.

TIME National Security

Police Briefly Evacuate U.S. Capitol

The visitors' center was evacuated as well

(WASHINGTON)—Police briefly evacuated hundreds of workers and tourists from the U.S. Capitol and its adjacent visitors’ center on Tuesday in a problem officials tentatively blamed on a faulty exhaust fan in a visitor center kitchen.

Within an hour after alarms sounded, employees returned to the building. Tourists were readmitted shortly after that.

Lawmakers are in recess this week for the weeklong Memorial Day break.

The U.S. Capitol Police told congressional workers in an email that two alarms were triggered in the visitors’ center, which they said was apparently caused by “a known problem with environmental controls with the kitchen exhaust fan.” It provided no additional detail.

Kimberly Schneider, a Capitol Police spokeswoman, said there were no signs of smoke or fire. An email sent later to House staff by the chamber’s sergeant at arms office said the triggering of alarms “was most likely caused by smoke in the kitchen; there was no fire.”

The evacuation occurred two days after a bomb squad destroyed a pressure cooker found in an unattended, “suspicious” vehicle on the National Mall near the Capitol and the vehicle’s Virginia owner was arrested. Almost six weeks earlier, a Florida man was arrested after he flew his gyrocopter through restricted air space and onto the Capitol grounds.

In Tuesday’s incident, police cleared the East Lawn and closed First Street between the Capitol and the Library of Congress until the buildings were reopened.

Denise Grandits of Buffalo, New York, said she and 70 eighth-graders were touring the Capitol and heard the alarms. She said the guide escorted them out of the building.

“We just walked. It was pretty calm,” she said.

According to the police email, officials initially thought one of the two triggered alarms was in the Capitol and they began evacuating that building.

In a moment of confusion, police soon advised people in the Capitol that they could remain inside because the alarms were not coming from that building. They reversed themselves again minutes later and resumed evacuating the Capitol.

The police email said once officials determined both alarms were in the visitor center, they decided to continue emptying the Capitol “to ensure staff and members did not receive conflicting information.”

TIME Crime

Pressure Cooker in Suspicious Vehicle in Washington Is Destroyed

The vehicle's owner was located and arrested

(WASHINGTON) — A bomb squad safely destroyed a pressure cooker found in a “suspicious” vehicle left unattended Sunday afternoon on the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol building and the vehicle’s owner was located and arrested, a U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman said.

Police Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider told The Associated Press that Capitol Police officers on routine patrol spotted the parked, unoccupied vehicle on a street on the mall west of the Capitol around 5 p.m. Sunday.

“Further investigation revealed a pressure cooker, and an odor of gasoline was detected,” Schneider said, adding a Capitol Police bomb squad was called in because the vehicle was deemed “suspicious in nature.”

She said the squad known as the Hazardous Devices Section destroyed “items of concern in the vehicle including the pressure cooker” at about 7:45 p.m. after temporarily closing off the area on the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. She did not immediately identify the other items but said only that “this safe disruption produced a loud ‘bang.'”

Asked by AP if the “disruption” involved controlled detonation of the items, she said that was accurate. She also said that follow-up searching of the vehicle detected “nothing hazardous.” Her email said the suspicious vehicle was investigated during a Memorial Day Concert in Washington though it was unclear how many people were nearby at the time.

She said the bomb squad intervention came after authorities had set up a security perimeter around the site on 3rd Street in the nation’s capital. She said that street was temporarily closed between Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue while authorities investigated.

After the pressure cooker was destroyed, she said, police conducted a thorough “hand search” of the vehicle and concluded their investigation by about 8:20 p.m. “with negative results and nothing hazardous found.”

Asked whether police had specifically identified any threat to public safety, Schneider told AP via email: “If we can’t determine whether or not an item is safe/dangerous, we’d have to treat it as dangerous until we determine otherwise.” She added that was “why the items were safely disrupted, out of an abundance of caution.” She didn’t elaborate.

She added that the vehicle owner was located and her statement identified him as Israel Shimeles of the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. The statement said Shimeles was arrested by Capitol Police and charged with “Operating After Revocation” and that he was being processed Sunday evening at the police headquarters building.

It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney. Schneider didn’t elaborate on the charge.

Schneider also said the city’s Metropolitan Police, U.S. Park Police, the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force were assisting Capitol Police.

The FBI did not immediately return a call for comment late Sunday.

Authorities have noted that pressure cookers have been used in the past to create explosive devices. Three people were killed and more than 260 others wounded in April 2013 when two pressure-cooker bombs were set off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

TIME Rand Paul

Rand Paul Filibusters Patriot Act Renewal

Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 15, 2015, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the need to reform asset forfeiture.
Andrew Harnik—AP Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 15, 2015, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the need to reform asset forfeiture.

Presidential candidate Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to protest the renewal of the Patriot Act, a Bush administration-era law that enables government surveillance.

The Kentucky Republican argued that the programs authorized by the 2001 law improperly constrict Americans’ rights and grant overly broad powers to the National Security Agency.

“There comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer,” he began. “That time is now, and I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged.”

Shortly after the speech began, the Paul campaign emailed supporters to say that he would “not yield one inch in this fight so long as my legs can stand.”

Paul began speaking at 1:18 p.m., when the Senate was in the midst of discussion of a massive trade deal with Asia, making it arguable whether it was technically a filibuster, a parliamentary procedure used to delay or prevent a vote.

Paul previously filibustered the nomination of CIA chief John Brennan in order to highlight what he considered the danger of drone strikes against U.S. citizens within the United States.

TIME Pakistan

Here’s What Osama Bin Laden Was Reading Before His Death

Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars
Simon & Schuster Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars

Bin Laden had a large collection of U.S.-focused books, from Bob Woodward's Obama’s Wars to Oxford's History of Modern War

Isolated in a secret compound in Pakistan for years, Osama bin Laden was largely disconnected from the realities of the world around him. A list of materials found in his compound released Wednesday by the U.S. government suggests that he learned about the outside world, at least in part, through a trove of English-language documents.

From Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars to Oxford’s History of Modern War, bin Laden seemed intent on keeping up with the West’s understanding of war, diplomacy and foreign policy. Other titles include Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky, Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum.

Bin Laden also collected an array of articles from American news outlets. Some, like a story about al-Qaeda in the Los Angeles Times and copies of Foreign Policy, make sense. But it’s a little less clear why he kept others, like a TIME article about AOL stock.

Letters between members of the bin Laden family and al-Qaeda affiliates were also included in the release.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the list of documents, said it would review hundreds more papers for possible release in the near future. “All documents whose publication will not hurt ongoing operations against al-Qa‘ida or their affiliates will be released,” said office spokesperson Jeffrey Anchukaitis in a statement.

TIME National Security

Obama Calls Climate Change a National Security Threat

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a commencement ceremony at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.D. on May 8, 2015.
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a commencement ceremony at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.D. on May 8, 2015.

Obama says the global change in climate will pose a direct threat to our military

President Obama is once again arguing that climate change is a threat to national security.

In a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Wednesday, Obama noted the problems created by extreme weather, which scientists believe can be exacerbated by climate change. Members of the Coast Guard are often among the first responders during natural disasters such as hurricanes.

“You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us,” Obama told the class of 2015. “Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long term.”

During the speech in Connecticut, Obama said that an increase in natural disasters will lead to more humanitarian crises that pose direct threats to a nation’s stability. “More extreme storms will mean more humanitarian missions to deliver lifesaving help,” he said. “Our forces will have to be ready.”

The speech echoed statements presented in the White House National Security Strategy, which said extreme weather, rising tides and temperature shifts fights over scarce resources and diminishing coast lines that will have a stark impact on the global economy.

According to a White House report released Wednesday, the Department of Defense is currently examining the impact climate change can have on U.S. military bases. The Pentagon is also considering how much strain extreme weather places on the Coast Guard.

Wednesday’s speech is the latest Obama administration push to focus the nation’s attention on the threats of climate change. Obama has often said climate change is the greatest threat facing the world’s future generations. It was a sentiment he stressed during an Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades where he said, “This is not a problem for another generation. It has serious implications for the way we live right now.”

Facing a skeptical Congress, Obama has relied on executive action in efforts to curb the effects of changing temperatures and rising seas. The U.S. has also pledged to a 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

“Some warming is now inevitable,” Obama said Wednesday. “But there comes a point when the worst effects will be irreversible. And time is running out. And we all know what needs to happen. It’s no secret.”

TIME Congress

House Votes to End Bulk Collection of American Phone Records

The NSA's new spy data collection center is seen just south of Salt Lake City on May 7, 2015 in Bluffdale, Utah.
George Frey—Getty Images BLUFF DALE, UT - MAY 7: The NSA's new spy data collection center is seen just south of Salt Lake City May 7, 2015 in Bluffdale, Utah. Reportedly, the center is the largest of its kind with massive computer power for processing data. A New York Court of appeals ruled that the NSA's bulk collection of phone data is illegal. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

The USA Freedom Act would end the mass collection of phone metadata by the NSA

(WASHINGTON) — The House voted by a wide margin Wednesday to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and replace it with a system to search the data held by telephone companies on a case-by-case basis.

The 338-to-88 vote set the stage for a Senate showdown just weeks before the Patriot Act provisions authorizing the program are due to expire.

If the House bill becomes law, it will represent one of the most significant changes stemming from the unauthorized disclosures of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. But many Senate Republicans don’t like the measure, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a separate version that would keep the program as is. Yet, he also faces opposition from within his party and has said he is open to compromise.

President Barack Obama supports the House legislation, known as the USA Freedom Act, which is in line with a proposal he made last March. The House passed a similar bill last year, but it failed in the Senate.

Most House members would rather see the Patriot Act provisions expire altogether than re-authorize NSA bulk collection, said Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee. “I think the Senate is ultimately going to pass something like the USA Freedom Act,” he said.

The issue, which exploded into public view two years ago, has implications for the 2016 presidential contest, with Republican candidates staking out different positions.

The revelation that the NSA had for years been secretly collecting all records of U.S. landline phone calls was among the most controversial disclosures by Snowden, a former NSA systems administrator who in 2013 leaked thousands of secret documents to journalists.

The program collects the number called, along with the date, time and duration of call, but not the content or people’s names. It stores the information in an NSA database that a small number of analysts query for matches against the phone numbers of known terrorists abroad, hunting for domestic connections to plots.

Officials acknowledge the program has never foiled a terrorist attack, and some within the NSA had proposed abandoning it even before it leaked — on the grounds that its financial and privacy costs outweighed its counterterrorism benefits.

Proponents of keeping the program the way it is argue that the rise of the Islamic State group and its efforts to inspire Westerners to attack in their own countries make it more important than ever for the NSA and FBI to have such phone records at their disposal to map potential terrorist cells when new information surfaces. And they say there is no evidence the program has ever been misused.

Under the House measure, the NSA would no longer collect and store the records, but the government still could obtain a court order to obtain data connected to a specific number from the phone companies, which typically store them for 18 months.

If the legislation is enacted, “Americans will now rest easy knowing that their calls and other records will not be warehoused by the government, no matter how careful the government is in their procedures to access those files,” said Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat on the intelligence committee.

The House measure also provides for a panel of experts to advocate for privacy and civil liberties before the secret intelligence court that oversees surveillance programs. And it allows the government to continue eavesdropping on foreign terrorists without a warrant for 72 hours after they enter the U.S., giving authorities time to obtain such a warrant.

The Senate will have a short window to act before Patriot Act provisions authorizing the phone records program and other counterterrorism-related measures expire June 1. If McConnell’s bill passes to reauthorize the law with no changes, that would be seen as a crushing defeat for surveillance opponents.

On Tuesday, NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director Jim Comey briefed senators on the program. Afterward, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee told reporters the NSA was not collecting all the data it should be. He declined to be specific, saying the briefing was classified, but he appeared to be addressing the fact that the collection does not include most mobile calls in an era when many people have stopped using landlines.

“The way it’s being implemented today, I don’t see how it’s … useful at all to the American people,” said Corker, who wants to reauthorize the current law. “And I’m shocked, shocked … by the small amount of data that is even part of the program. It needs to be ramped up.”

U.S. officials have confirmed the mobile records gap, saying it stemmed from technical and policy issues that ultimately would have been addressed absent the Snowden leak. Under the House’s USA Freedom Act, they said, the NSA would expand its queries to include mobile records, creating a potentially more effective program. But they have expressed concerns about working out an arrangement with phone providers to standardize the data so the information can quickly be searched.

Those officials, not authorized to comment publicly by name, spoke only on condition of anonymity.

___

Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

TIME Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Dismisses Pope Francis’ Views on Cuba, Israel

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Running for President, Leading a Global Faith Have Different Goals

During a Q&A on foreign policy Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio took a shot at an unlikely public figure: Pope Francis.

After delivering a meaty speech outlining his hawkish foreign policy priorities at the Council on Foreign Relations, the Florida Republican criticized the 78-year-old pontiff’s take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the U.S.-Cuban standoff.

“His desire is peace and prosperity, he wants everyone to be better off. He’s not a political figure,” Rubio said. “Anything he can do to open up more opportunities for them, he’s going to pursue.”

Rubio contrasted that with his own approach.

“My interest as an elected official is the national security of the United States and embedded in that is the belief that it is not good for our people—or the people of Cuba—for an anti-American dictatorship 90 miles from our shores,” he said.

And asked about the Vatican’s support for separate states of Israel and Palestine, Rubio said the United States must stand with its ally Israel.

“It is the only free enterprise, democratic, pro-American country in the Middle East. If we had more free enterprise, pro-American democracies in the Middle East, my speech would be a lot shorter,” Rubio said.

Asked about his earlier support for separate states of Israel and Palestine, Rubio was dour: “I don’t think the conditions exist for that today.”

It won’t be the last time Pope Francis plays a role in U.S. presidential politics. He’s set to visit Philadelphia in September of 2015, as the presidential race gets even more heated.

Read more: The Possible Presidential Candidate Who Agrees the Most with Pope Francis

TIME National Security

White House Stands by Original Story of bin Laden Killing

US President Barack Obama re creates his speach announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden at The White ouse in Washington DC, May 1, 2011.
Chris Kleponis—Getty Images U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the death of Osama bin Laden at the White House in Washington on May 1, 2011

A CIA spokesperson said the claim Pakistan was involved was "utter nonsense"

The White House on Monday doubled down on its original narrative of the killing of Osama bin Laden, a day after a report by a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist suggested the Obama Administration had lied about details of the 2011 raid.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said that contrary to the article by Seymour Hersh, the operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was a unilateral U.S. mission without Pakistani involvement. “The President decided early on not to inform any other government, including the Pakistani government, which was not notified until after the raid had occurred,” he said. “This was a U.S. operation through and through.”

The central allegation in Hersh’s article, published Sunday in the London Review of Books, is that the U.S. worked in collaboration with the Pakistani government in the run-up to the raid. “The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance,” writes Hersh. “This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.”

Hersh’s single source for this assertion is “a retired senior intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad.”

The White House has called the allegations “patently false,” the Wall Street Journal reports, while a CIA spokesman said Hersh’s report was “utter nonsense.”

American officials have consistently maintained that the killing of Osama bin Laden by a team of Navy SEALs was done without any Pakistani involvement. Then CIA chief Leon Panetta told TIME in his first postraid interview on May 3, 2011, that the U.S. had decided not to tell Pakistan about the raid beforehand.

Here is the first paragraph of that story:

“In his first interview since commanding the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, CIA chief Leon Panetta tells TIME that U.S. officials feared that Pakistan could have undermined the operation by leaking word to its targets. Long before Panetta ordered Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of the Joint Special Forces Command, to undertake the mission at 1:22 p.m. on Friday, the CIA had been gaming out how to structure the raid. Months prior, the U.S. had considered expanding the assault to include coordination with other countries, notably Pakistan. But the CIA ruled out participating with its nominal South Asian ally early on because “it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets,” Panetta says.”

Hersh’s article has been anticipated for some time. In 2013, he told the Guardian that official statements made by American officials about the raid amounted to “one big lie,” and that “not one word of it is true.” Now that his article is out, its sourcing is being scrutinized here and here.

TIME National Security

New Push to Give Pentagon the Lead on Drone Strikes

In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan.
Kirsty Wigglesworth—AP An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan on Jan. 31, 2010

The military can talk about its activities, while the CIA usually cannot

(WASHINGTON) — The deaths of an Italian and an American in a covert CIA drone strike in Pakistan — and the rhetorical contortions required of the president when he informed the world — have breathed new urgency into a long-stalled plan to give the Pentagon primacy over targeted killing of terrorists overseas.

President Barack Obama announced two years ago that he wanted the armed forces, not a civilian intelligence agency, to be in charge of killing militants abroad who pose a threat to the United States. One reason he cited was transparency: The military can talk about its activities, while the CIA usually cannot.

But the effort soon slowed to a crawl amid bureaucratic rivalries, intelligence sharing dilemmas and congressional turf battles. The vast majority of drone strikes since Obama’s May 2013 speech have been carried out in Yemen and Pakistan by the CIA.

Now, administration officials and their allies in Congress want to get the transition moving again, U.S. officials said this week. The catalyst was Obama’s struggle last month to explain how two hostages held by al-Qaida, American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, were accidentally killed in an American drone missile attack in January. He had to do so without acknowledging that the CIA routinely conducts attacks in Pakistan, a “secret” in U.S. law but a known fact throughout the world.

The CIA also conducts targeted strikes in Yemen. The military does so in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Proponents of moving the drone program to the military worry that the CIA’s focus on hunting and killing has allowed its spying muscles to atrophy. And they argue that the military is able to discuss its operations, adding a layer of public accountability. On the other side are those who believe the CIA has become extremely proficient at targeted killing, which relies more on precise intelligence than traditional bombing.

Much of the debate about whether the CIA should exit the killing business is taking place behind the scenes. In public, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the Armed Services Committee, says he intends to insert a provision in a defense bill requiring the military to take over the drone program. And last week, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, reiterated his previous support for the proposal.

“Our intelligence agencies should focus on their core mission” of espionage, Schiff told The Associated Press.

Schiff’s stance puts him at odds with other intelligence committee leaders, including another California Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has been explicit in arguing that the CIA should continue its targeted killing. Feinstein says the CIA is more judicious than the military when conducting drone strikes.

“The CIA takes its time,” Feinstein told the AP in February. “They are not hot dogs on a mission.”

In the military, Feinstein said, there are short tours of duty and therefore, “constant turnover. There is no turnover in the (CIA) program. They’re very careful about the identification of the individual. Sometimes the intelligence gathering goes on for months.”

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Feinstein’s remarks.

Many other Intelligence Committee members agree with Feinstein, and they inserted a classified provision in a spending bill last year that blocked the Obama administration from spending money on its plan to move drone strikes away from the CIA.

There is also a matter of turf: Intelligence Committee members want to maintain their jurisdiction over a high impact counterterrorism program. They argue that their oversight of the CIA is better than the oversight conducted by the Armed Services committees over military strikes. Intelligence committee staffers watch video of each CIA strike, but staffers on the Armed Services committees in Congress do not watch videos of each military strike, say congressional aides who were not authorized to be quoted by name about a classified matter.

The congressional resistance appeared to put the transition on ice. But U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be quoted discussing a classified program, said that while the planning slowed, it never stopped. And now it is picking up again.

The ultimate goal, the U.S. officials say, is an integrated model under which the CIA continues to hunt targets, but lets the military pull the trigger.

In theory that should be easy, since many of the CIA drone pilots are Air Force personnel who have been seconded to the agency. But in practice, there are serious impediments.

One is technology: The military and CIA use different systems, sensors and databases. It will take time to integrate them.

Another is intelligence sharing. Any military commander directing a lethal operation will want to fully understand the basis for it. But some of the intelligence that undergirds CIA drone strikes comes from the agency’s most sensitive sources, whose identities it would be loath to share with anyone.

A third is bureaucratic rivalry. Those in the military who collect intelligence and hunt for targets resist the notion that the CIA take over all that work and relegate those in uniform to merely pulling the trigger.

There is also the thorny problem of Pakistan, which after the 9/11 attacks made a deal with the George W. Bush administration to allow CIA drone strikes — but not U.S. military operations — on its territory. Pakistan prefers the CIA because its activities can be denied by both governments.

While it would be possible for the military to conduct drone strikes in Pakistan and simply never comment on them, many U.S. officials believe the Pakistanis would not tolerate it.

Additionally, the U.S. often is reluctant to alert Pakistan ahead of a strike, for fear that elements of the government will tip off the targets.

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