The Washington Times Daily - - World -

U.S. drone strikes have turned the tech­nique of ter­ror weapons against ter­ror­ists, ac­cord­ing to cur­rent and for­mer in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials.

Michael G. Vick­ers, un­der­sec­re­tary of de­fense for in­tel­li­gence, said dur­ing a re­cent de­fense con­fer­ence in Cal­i­for­nia that mis­sile-fir­ing un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles re­main “our most ef­fec­tive in­stru­ment” in the war on ter­ror­ism. They also pro­duced the “most pre­cise” at­tacks in the his­tory of mod­ern war­fare, he said.

A for­mer in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with drone war­fare pro­grams told In­side the Ring how a drone strike was car­ried out in Afghanistan.

The at­tack was viewed in real time from im­ages pro­duced by in­frared cam­era-equipped sur­veil­lance drones. The video showed bright cir­cles of lights — a group of ter­ror­ists or in­sur­gents — gath­ered around another center light — a camp­fire.

Upon hear­ing the low-pitched sound of the drone’s pro­pel­ler-driven en­gine, the ter­ror­ists scram­bled away from the fire and were met with sev­eral large ex­plo­sions as the drone’s Hell­fire mis­siles ex­ploded on the site.

Later, a sec­ond strike was con­ducted af­ter a line of lights was spot­ted mov­ing along a nearby moun­tain trail. The group of sur­viv­ing ter­ror­ists even­tu­ally gath­ered at a ren­dezvous point.

A short time later, more ex­plo­sions ripped through the meet­ing place, killing all but one of the ter­ror­ists.

“They let the last guy go so he could tell oth­ers about the dev­as­tat­ing at­tacks,” the for­mer of­fi­cial said.

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