by Greg Miller
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly
developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation
targeting list called the "disposition matrix."
The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an
accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including
sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the
database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the
"disposition" of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.
Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects
a reality setting in among the nation's counterterrorism ranks: The United
States' conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to
continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years. . . .
The United States now operates multiple drone programs, including
acknowledged U.S. military patrols over conflict zones in Afghanistan and
Libya, and classified CIA surveillance flights over Iran.
Strikes against al-Qaeda, however, are carried out under secret lethal
programs involving the CIA and JSOC. The matrix was developed by the NCTC,
under former director Michael Leiter, to augment those organizations'
separate but overlapping kill lists, officials said.
The result is a single, continually evolving database in which biographies,
locations, known associates and affiliated organizations are all catalogued.
So are strategies for taking targets down, including extradition requests,
capture operations and drone patrols. . . .
Realpolitik and Terrorism
Fred Branfman, "Mass
Assassinations Lie at the Heart of America's Military Strategy in the Muslim
World," AlterNet, August 24, 2010
"U.S. Rejects Demands To Vacate
Pakistan Drone Base," The Wisdom Fund, June 30, 2011
"As the Drone Flies: War By 'Lethal
Autonomy'," The Wisdom Fund, September 27, 2011
Glenn Greenwald, "Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent: Complete with
a newly coined, creepy Orwellian euphemism - 'disposition matrix' - the
administration institutionalizes the most extremist powers a government can
claim," guardian.co.uk, October 25, 2011
Owen Bowcott, "UN to investigate civilian deaths from US drone
strikes," guardian.co.uk, October 25, 2011
William Pfaff, "Drone
Warfare: An Illegal Tactic Sure to Perpetuate U.S.-Muslim War Indefinitely,"
truthdig.com, October 30, 2011
[As combatants, drone operators are targetable at any time.--Aroop Mukharji, "Drone Operators: Soldiers or
Civilans?," theatlantic.com, March 28, 2013]
Abigail Fielding-Smith, Crofton Black, Alice Ross and James Ball, "Revealed: Private firms at heart of US drone
warfare," theguardian.com, July 30, 2015