7,262. 7/15/2008

In July 2008, the national security team devised a plan that “called for a much more muscular decapitation campaign aimed at killing key al-Qaeda leaders using manned drones armed with missiles. Instead of waiting for Pakistani permission, the CIA would strike unilaterally, assuming it had gathered enough indications that there was a high-value target on the ground and that civilian casualties could be kept to a minimum. It would inform Pakistan either as the strike took place or afterward. Special Forces in Afghanistan would also be authorized to conduct raids across the border. What would make the campaign more effective, [President] Bush was told, was the development of much more intense surveillance of potential targets. Instead of relying simply on fragmentary information from informants or short-lived satellite passes, the CIA was now able to station drones hovering over a target undetected for days or even weeks at a time, gathering a complete picture of a suspected hideout and its occupants.” [The 15th of the month used for date sorting purposes only.]

 – Peter Baker, Days of Fire, Page 598

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