U.S. expands hunt for terrorists in Yemen
An image taken with a mobile phone shows the southern Yemen town of Loder, in Abiyan province, where the Yemeni army are fighting militant supporters of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.
April 27th, 2012
01:21 PM ET

U.S. expands hunt for terrorists in Yemen

By Barbara Starr

The White House has approved plans by the Pentagon and the CIA to conduct strikes in Yemen against al Qaeda operatives even if U.S. officials do not know the identities of the individuals it's attacking, according to a U.S. official.

The official declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the issue. The Wall Street Journal first reported the development.

"We don't have to have a name, bio and dossier" to attack a target, the official said.

CIA officers and military personnel will now be allowed to conduct strikes based on intelligence that shows only a "pattern of behavior" that indicates a target poses a threat to the United States. This could involve striking fixed sites such as compounds where there are gatherings of suspected operatives, vehicle convoys or specific individuals.

These are generally referred to as "signature' strikes" because they target a particular pattern, or signature, of suspicious activity. But the official emphasized that even in these types of strikes there must be intelligence information showing the target is a "significant national security threat."

"We are not just out there taking potshots at guys with guns," the official said, adding there will still be an emphasis on trying to avoid civilian casualties.

The issue of unintended casualties has been particularly sensitive in Pakistan, where opponents claim years of CIA drone strikes have resulted in many civilian deaths. And in Yemen, the teenage son of top al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki was unintentionally killed in a drone attack that was aimed at another suspected terrorist.

Post by:
Filed under: CIA • drones • Yemen
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Todd Seilheimer

    This is very interesting, You're a very skilled blogger. I've joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I've shared your website in my social networks!


    March 6, 2021 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  2. Robert Davis

    Reckless and foolish approach, like performing surgery with a power shovel.

    CIA needs to shift focus to their own back yards, cities and towns in the USA... The independent cells of terrorists there pose a far more immediate and dangerous threat to "national security" than the disorganized terrorists in Yemen do.


    April 30, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
  3. frankie

    Hail,hail the drones are here.They should build drones the size of a boeing triple seven,imagine the size of the bombs that would be dropped.Oops we bombed the wrong house,or should I say the wrong country.AHH the power to displace a few yemeni souls.Thumbs up all the way here.

    April 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  4. Frank

    Ted and john have been executed anders still going to trial I think and robert pickleton is doing life for killing 39 women in canada!

    April 29, 2012 at 9:06 am | Reply
  5. Frank

    Don't they get tired of fighting! If not terrorist it is crimminals,gangs, or a lone wolf like anders bering beviek, or some mass murderer like ted bundy,john wayne casey,robert pickelton, or someone else doing something that hasn't been caught yet!

    April 29, 2012 at 9:02 am | Reply
  6. Ian

    Gideon you are a fucking moron
    I myself keep up on the policies of the middle east do you honestly think comments you have made here are productive in sustaining a valid peace and a general feeling of compassion towards your people
    Ridiculous comments that you have made go beyond stupidity and fan the fire of not just retaliatory name calling but genuine hatred of you and all your nation ant not
    just your neighbours but your friends too grow up you idiot

    April 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  7. Suzeranda

    The US legal system is based on presumed innocent until proven guilty because you cannot defend yourself from prejudice or ulterior motives. If the US went to war in Iraq based on faulty evidence, what about the possibility of it here?

    The root cause of terrorism is not that "some people are good and some people are bad, and the bad want to hurt the good people." It is that people "on the bottom" have no voice in matters of grave concern, and must raise their voice to be heard, oftentimes to the point of violence.

    Imagine having a drone appear on your horizon and start shooting at you. What would you do?

    April 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  8. Hahahahahaha

    If you zoom in on the picture, you can see an Al Kinda terrorist doing a sheep from behind. Hahahahahahahaha

    April 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • Heeheeheeheeheeheehee

      On closer inspection, I thinks it's your mom. Heeheeheeheeheeheehee.

      April 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
      • Dimitrije

        as much as I'd want to be one, my emails to you wasn't a joke, unfltrunateoy Di ba pwedeng April Fool's month nalang? Ahahahaha I feel bad I wasn't able to give you an April Fool's day special. medyo recovery period parin ata ako from blog awards stress

        September 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
      • Shanell

        Posted on I feel much better about my faelid attempt now! Its excellent that you can laugh at your attempt! i loved the bummer basket ah the many mutant children of our creativity! i can really relate cause i just recently ventured into the world of felting.Lia’s last blog post..

        September 13, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Hohohohohohoho

      oh no she is Osama's Yemeni widow with her new boy friend. Hohohohohohoho Hohohohohohoho

      April 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  9. Everett Wallace

    It is all about the terrorists and their belief, does not matter, if you do not believe in their religious ideolgy they will kill you. It is all about religion and this mess has come to a head. Their way of life is the only way and their is no separate groups all feel their way is the only way. Just like christians they acknowledge JESUS but know nothing about GOD THE FATHER or GOD THE HOLYSPIRIT and without the knowledge of them your stuck condemed so you have the spiritual terrorism also. RELIGION is Bad and NO I am not an unbeliever I believe and TRUST the TRINITY.

    April 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  10. Peace Keeper

    Jews are human beings that can be hurt or killed just like anyone else. I assume your jewish, and ill also assume you've bled from getting punched in the face. You are human like everyone else accept it, if you were the chosen race the nazis would've been destroyed by god. nope they were beaten by us American non jewish people. IMAGINE THAT! Im getting married next week, you should come pick up all the rice off the ground, jew.

    April 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  11. shivadass



    April 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  12. gideon

    Kill the children, and the parents will lose will to fight.

    We proove this in Lebannon, we prove this in terrorist ridden Gaza.

    We have saying, strike hard, strike fast, strike deep.

    April 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Reply
    • Loki

      You Israelis are a foul bunch. My country had better tell you to fuck off, before I have to beat ur ass...

      I used to feel sorry for you....

      April 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  13. gideon

    Yemen is an enemy of Israel, and should be destroyed.

    April 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
    • Peace Keeper

      You're an enemy of the world and you (not your country) should be destroyed. You are giving your country a bad reputation you idiot.

      April 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Reply
      • gideon

        Many of my brethren feel this way.

        Jews are a chosen race, there is no shame in serving us.

        April 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Soledad

      Posted on Thanks again you guys! Since a bunch of folks have messaged about watnnig them I won't mind selling them for $5 each (materials, not labor cost!) + shipping. If you like, email me which one you want and your shipping address, and I can reply with a paypal invoice in a week. First come, first serve on choice.Thanks for liking my bunnies!!Tammy

      September 10, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.