The New York Times takes an in-depth look at the “shadow war” being waged by the US in about a dozen countries, shining a light on a secret assault on terrorism that expands from North Africa to Yemen to former Soviet republics. Though the stealth war began under Bush, it’s grown significantly under Obama; with voters worn down by the financial and human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration officials point out the benefits of the quiet approach—one that is evolving the CIA from spy agency into a “paramilitary organization,” notes the Times.
In Pakistan, for instance, the agency has grown its drone campaign, attacking not just al-Qaeda leaders but suspected enemy compounds and convoys—an approach the military would generally take to wear down the opposition. The Pentagon is experiencing a transformation of its own, becoming more like…the CIA, executing spy missions across the Middle East that operate with even less Congressional oversight than traditional CIA spying programs tend to have. The approach is raising many red flags, among them the fear that such weakened oversight could diminish our ability to prevent abuses by these secret operatives.