The move would represent a change from Obama-era policies that limited the spy agency's role in conducting paramilitary strikes, pushing responsibility for these to the Pentagon.
American President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants and terrorists, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing us officials.
USA officials have not confirmed the strike, but Al-Qaeda said Masri was killed "during a Crusader drone strike" in Syria.
The new authority, which was likely signed soon after Trump's inauguration, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, takes drone strikes out of the sole control of the military, making it likely that tracking accountability in terms of already unprecedented civilian casualties will be even more hard. Former President Barack Obama insisted the CIA would be responsible for gathering intelligence on terrorist targets before the strike itself was carried out by the USA military for transparency's sake.
That paved the way for a botched January 29 special operations raid which resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL and multiple civilians - including women and children.
At the same time, reporting by the Washington Post's Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung late Monday revealed that the Trump administration is also considering a number of changes to Presidential Policy Guidance, also known as the Drone Playbook, issued by the Obama administration in 2013.
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"A big goal is getting the White House out of the way of itself", an anonymous senior USA official, told The Washington Post. The Pentagon had to report that publicly.
By giving the CIA total control over the US drone program, President Trump will shield the agency from public scrutiny and allow it to operate in the dark.
Syria may not be the only place where the Central Intelligence Agency is now authorized to conduct drone strikes.
In July, the US government accepted responsibility for inadvertently killing up to 116 civilians in strikes in countries where America is not at war.
Under the Obama administration, the military was in charge of promoting transparency and accountability.