WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- The CIA is gathering intelligence on Islamist extremists in Syria and planning possible lethal drone strikes in the country, officials said.
Nada Bakos, a former CIA officer, said the intelligence agency is "trying to figure out what they are doing and how to go about stopping it," the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
President Barack Obama has not yet authorized drone missile strikes in Syria, the newspaper said.
Identifying possible threats in Syria would be "a logical step if the policy community sends a signal that, 'Hey, you guys might want to think about how you would respond to a possible request for plans about how you would thin the herd of the future insurgency,'" said another former CIA officer, whose name was not reported.
A third former CIA officer, whose name was also not reported, said he is skeptical that militants in Syria pose a risk to U.S. homeland security.
"If we do this, why don't we start droning people in Hezbollah?" he said, referring to the militant group based in Lebanon, considered by the United States as a terrorist organization. "It opens the door for a lot of other things."