President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE in his first full day as commander in chief reportedly asked CIA officials if they could fully silence the bombs used in drone strikes.
Trump, shown highlights of successful Predator drone strikes during his first visit to CIA headquarters a day after he was inaugurated, noticed in one video that a group of militants had spread out right before an attack.
“Can they hear the bombs coming? We should make the bombs silent so they can’t get away,” he told officials, according to an excerpt of "The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy” published by The Washington Post on Wednesday. Its author, Greg Miller, is a national security correspondent for the newspaper.
The forthcoming book says Trump appeared unenthused when the CIA’s head of drone operations described how the agency had developed special bombs to limit civilian casualties.
When he was shown a strike during which the CIA did not fire until the target was away from a compound with other people inside, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?”
In addition, Trump appeared puzzled by the CIA’s restraint in its use of drones, which it deploys for surveillance flights over Syria. At the time, only the military conducted lethal strikes, as part of an Obama-era policy.
Trump told CIA officials he wanted the restrictions gone.
“If you can do it in 10 days, get it done,” he said.
President Obama late in his second term curtailed CIA drone strikes after a series of highly reported strikes — some of which killed civilians — caused a backlash in and outside the United States.
Under Trump, the CIA has largely regained the ability to conduct secret drone strikes, which are not disclosed to the public.
The agency, along with the U.S. military, primarily conducts drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, but earlier this month The New York Times reported that the CIA was broadening its drone strike operations in Africa.
The CIA is reportedly moving aircraft to Niger in order to conduct drone strikes against al Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Libya.
The Pentagon has already carried out five drone strikes against ISIS militants in Libya this year.