According to the Associated Press, for the past month, the top U.S. counter-terrorist chief, John Brenan, has been calling the shots when it comes to assigning which terror suspects outside established battlespaces are placed on a “kill list” .
Under the old Pentagon-run review, a potential “target” would be discussed at an inter-agency conference, including members from the National Counterterrorism Center and the State Department. Among the evidence taken into consideration: Is the target a member of al-Qaida or its affiliates? Are they engaged in activities aimed at the U.S. overseas or at home?
The CIA’s process remains shrouded in secrecy–only a select number of staff are involved in the Covert Action Review Group, which passes a list of targets to the CIA’s CTC to carry out the drone strikes. The Director of National Intelligence is also briefed.