Defense secretary openly refers to CIA’s drones

Speaking to U.S. and NATO troops, first in Naples and later in Sicily, Panetta twice referred to the Predator drones he controlled in his previous job as CIA director. It was a rare on-the-record confirmation of the agency’s use of the unmanned aircraft by a senior U.S. official, even though the program has become an open secret in Washington.

When officials talk about the CIA drones, they usually do so anonymously or refer simply to “counter-terrorism operations.”

“Having moved from the CIA to the Pentagon, obviously I have a hell of a lot more weapons available to me in this job than I had at the CIA, although the Predators aren’t bad,” he said in a speech to sailors and Marines at the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet headquarters in Naples.

LA Times


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