Islamabad, Apr 15: The CIA’s drone strike programme in Pakistan was reportedly carried out by a regular US air force unit based in the Nevada desert, a new documentary film has revealed.
The revelation has been made by several former drone operators in the region who have claimed that the CIA’s Predator missions in Pakistan were flown by USAF’s conventional air force personnel and not by civilian contractors.
According to The Guardian, the film – which has been three years in the making – identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which operates from a secure compound in a corner of Creech air force base, 45 miles from Las Vegas in the Mojave desert.
Reacting to the latest revelation, Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said that a lethal force apparatus in which the CIA and regular military collaborate as they are reportedly doing risks upending the checks and balances that restrict where and when lethal force is used, and thwart democratic accountability, which cannot take place in secrecy.
Last year, senior officials in the Obama administration had announced that they intended to transfer control of the CIA’s secret drones programme to the military.
Brandon Bryant, a former US Predator operator said that there is a lie hidden within that truth and the lie is that it’s always been the air force that has flown those missions.
He said that while the CIA might be the customer, the air force has always flown it, adding that CIA label is just an excuse to not have to give up any information. (ANI)