Drones have remained in Libya; will hunt for Benghazi attackers

A Defense Department official tells Danger Room that the U.S. has kept drone flights flying over Libya, despite the conflict that initially brought them to Libyan airspace ending nearly a year ago.

“Yes, we have been flying CAPs since the war ended,” says Army Lt. Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. (CAPs is a military acronym for “combat air patrols,” a term of art that typically refers to several planes flying at once for a particular mission.) The drone flights, done for surveillance purposes, occur with the consent of the new Libyan government.

The Defense Department did not release further details about the drone flights. But CNN is reporting that drone flights will assist in spotting the perpetrators of Tuesday’s lethal attack on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Benghazi.

Last year’s war brought drones to Libya in force, both for surveillance missions and to attack Gadhafi loyalists. Between April 21 and October 21, 2011, Predators launched 145 strikes on ex-regime targets. That was twice the barrage drones unleashed in all of 2011 on tribal Pakistan, the place commonly thought of as the epicenter of U.S. drone strikes.

Wired, Danger Room

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