As Marcy discussed here, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Obama administration was looking at giving the CIA control over secret operations – including JSOC assassination teams and drones – in Yemen, supposedly in response to the still rather mysterious printer cartridge bombs announced last week.
Today, the Pentagon was eager to deny these reports:
But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman reacted to the story this way:
“There is nobody in a leadership position in the Defense Department who has given any serious consideration to the proposal outlined in that article,” said Whitman.
Whitman said no major change to U.S. aid to Yemen is being considered.
Dana Priest wrote that:
U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate, according to senior administration officials.
Priest went on to report that the US military operation in Yemen involves attempts to assassinate US citizens considered “High Value Targets” including US citizens in Yemen – and that we’d already built a
joint operations center, the American advisers are acting as intermediaries between the Yemeni forces and hundreds of U.S. military and intelligence officers working in Washington, Virginia and Tampa and at Fort Meade, Md., to collect, analyze and route intelligence.
While the stories about the printer bombs still seem rather confused – with reports that they were targeting Chicago area synagogues now replaced with claims they were designed to blow up in flight, news this morning that U.S. authorities has already seized a “dry run” in September, and reports that Saudi intelligence provided the details that made discovery possible making me a bit nervous given the Saudis interest in ramping up a U.S. presence in the areas of Yemen that currently host an insurgency the Saudis are interested in quashing– the real story of our already war in Yemen seems pretty clear.
We’ve established a base, sent JSOC and other forces in, approved massive increases in military aid which it’s uncertain whether Yemen even wants, were at least discussing CIA controlled drones back in September, ignored Amnesty International’s August warning that our existing operations in Yemen were unlawful – and we’ve already killed many Yemeni civilians, beginning with the cruise missile attack that predated the underpants bomber.
I can’t help but wonder if the Pentagon denial is in fact true – because these forces are already in place and active in Yemen.