Oct 1, 2011
Traveling from secret bases on opposite sides of Yemen, armed drones from the CIA and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command converged above Anwar al-Aulaqi’s positionin northern Yemen early Friday and unleashed a flurry of missiles.
US officials said the CIA was in control of all the aircraft, as well as the decisions to fire, and that the operation was so seamless that even hours later, it remained unclear whether a drone supplied by the CIA or the military fired the missile that ended the al-Qaeda leader’s life.
Aulaqi’s death represents the latest, and perhaps most literal, illustration to date of the convergence between the CIA and the nation’s elite military units in the counterterrorism fight.
President Obama described Aulaqi’s death as “a tribute to our intelligence community” and gave credit to Yemeni security forces who, he said, had “worked closely with the United States over the course of several years.”
But after a decade of often inconclusive efforts against al-Qaeda, the Obama administration has relied on new levels of collaboration between the CIA and JSOC to push the terrorist network closer to collapse.