The CIA’s Special Activities Center is reportedly using small teams of highly trained commandos to carry out hits on suspected terrorists, sources close to the operation disclosed. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has allegedly been overseeing the project since January 2017 when he initially purposed the agency be more “aggressive” and “vicious” when it came to lethal operations.
The agency has since refuted the claims according to BuzzFeed. “Your story is wrong,” said CIA spokesperson Ryan Trapani. But the unnamed sources paint a vividly different picture than what the agency has said publicly.
“They are getting people on targeting lists,” one of the sources told the publication. “Small teams are locating and killing bad guys. That’s what we are doing.”
“It’s a small number where it has been kinetic, but it is happening,” said another source, who was allegedly close to the operation.
According to Business Insider, a similar program was initiated by the CIA in 2009 under Obama but was soon replaced by additional drone strikes. The National Security Council and the military were said to have opposed the idea of putting small “kill teams” on the ground carrying out executions but they did eventually agreed.
The sources’ credibility seems to be verified by Pompeo when he proclaimed on record numerous times that he wanted to “push for the capabilities and the authorization to launch lethal ground operations.”
If this prompts an investigation and is discovered to be true, Pompeo could risk losing his new job with the State Department as Pompeo is President Trump’s pick to take over as Secretary of State, replacing Rex Tillerson who was fired last week.
Regardless, Pompeo will still need to be confirmed by the Senate. CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel was picked as Pompeo’s successor, but sources think the change in command will not stop the kill teams from taking out suspected terrorists.
“No one can dispute the number of real, real bad guys, where there’s real intelligence, that are taking hits. No one can dispute its been effective.”