File - Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, Jr., director of Operations J3, speaks about the operations in Syria.
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The Pentagon is grappling with significant intelligence gaps as it bombs Iraq and Syria, and it is operating under less restrictive targeting rules than those President Barack Obama imposed on the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen, according to current and former U.S. officials.The U.S. military says its airstrikes have been discriminating and effective in disrupting an Al-Qaeda cell called the Khorasan Group and in halting the momentum of ISIS militants. The group has begun adapting to U.S. airstrikes by seeking to conceal itself, move at night and blend in with civilians, Pentagon officials say.White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that the near certainty standard did not govern U.S. strikes underway in Syria and Iraq.After the near certainty standard was imposed on drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the frequency of strikes dropped precipitously, and the use of so-called signature strikes – attacks aimed at large groups of armed men who fit the profile of militants but whose names were not all known to the CIA – was curtailed.Warren acknowledged that the Pentagon could not say for sure that every person killed in bombings in Iraq and Syria had been a combatant.
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