Trump administration preparing to relax rules on drone strikes

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON Sept 22 (TNS): The Trump administration is preparing to relax Obama-era rules on drone strikes and commando raids, paving the way for more frequent operations against Daesh and other militant groups, the US media reported on Thursday, citing officials familiar with the internal deliberations.

President Donald Trump’s advisers have proposed relaxing a rule that generally limits drone strikes and raids to high-level militants deemed to pose a “continuing and imminent threat” to Americans. The rule would be expanded to include foot-soldiers, it said.

The advisers also want to eliminate a rule that drone strikes and raids by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency undergo high-level vetting.

Officials have agreed they should keep in place a requirement of “near certainty” that no civilian bystanders will be killed, the media said.

A Cabinet-level committee approved the proposed rules on Sept. 14 and sent them to Trump for his expected signature, it said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Former President Barack Obama established the rules in 2013 on operations by the military or the CIA outside of war zones like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.