A 2004 classified order authorized the military to attack Al Qaeda operatives around the globe. As many as a dozen raids occurred under this mandate.
That new authority has been used to conduct nearly a dozen covert raids against suspected terrorist targets on foreign soil since 2004, the article reports.
Based on interviews with military and intelligence officials and senior Bush administration policymakers, The paper's report paints a picture of a shadow war conducted by commando teams from the US special forces' most elite units, often under the control of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It's a war beamed live via Predator drone cameras to US spy masters in control rooms halfway around the globe, but often invisible to in-the-dark foreign governments.
According to the Times, in the spring of 2004 the Bush administration signed the classified "Al Qaeda Network Exord," which simplified the approval process for US covert military strikes against Al Qaeda and its allies. Before, only the CIA had blanket authorization to go after terrorists abroad and attaining approval for military strikes could take days.
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