President Obama’s speech on drone reform Thursday ushered in a new era of restraint for the Central Intelligence Agency, one that Director John O. Brennan has the challenge of implementing. The change is a throwback of sorts—returning the CIA to its roots as a sophisticated spy service, rather than a targeted killing machine. While large clandestine operations—built over the past decade in Kabul and Baghdad—will help smooth the transition, U.S. officials worry that the shift in focus will take years. The CIA, although still in the “business of killing,” will have a diminished role in deciding who, exactly, can be killed.
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