Report: Trump asked CIA why it waited for a target to walk away from his family before striking

  • President Donald Trump reportedly questioned why the CIA had waited for a drone strike target to walk away from his family before killing him.
  • Trump had previously advocated taking out the families of terrorists during his presidential campaign.
  • He has also spoken in favor of using large-scale military power to target enemies in Syria and Afghanistan.


President Donald Trump was reportedly unhappy with the CIA's apparent desire to minimize civilian casualties when carrying out drone strikes, according to a Washington Post source who was in a meeting with Trump and agency officials. 

On his first full day in office in January 2017, the CIA was reportedly showing Trump a recording of a previous drone strike in which operators had waited to strike at the target until he wandered away from his home, which had his family inside. But Trump questioned the move, according to The Washington Post's source.

“Why did you wait?” the person at the meeting recalled Trump saying.

Trump was also reportedly not impressed by new CIA military capabilities that allowed them to limit civilian casualties, sources noted. He commanded the CIA to begin arming its drones in Syria, where the agency had largely been flying surveillance missions and leaving strikes up to the US military.

This wasn't the first time Trump had expressed a disregard for civilian deaths in war zones — on the campaign trail in December 2015, Trump expressed a similar sentiment on "Fox & Friends."

RELATED: A look at a reported CIA 'black site' and secret prisons through the years

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Reported 'black site' and secret CIA prisons

DigitalGlobe satellite imagery of a the Salt Pit outside of Kabul, Afghanistan on September 1, 2014. The Salt Pit was the codename of an isolated clandestine CIA black site prison and interrogation center in Afghanistan. It is located north of Kabul and was a brick factory prior to the Afghanistan War. The CIA adapted it for extrajudicial detention.

(Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)

Homan Square, Chicago, on February 24, 2015, the location where Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'. Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys are locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

(Photo by Marcus DiPaola/NurPhoto) 

A soldier closes the entrance gate of Military Air Base nr. 86, near Mihail Kogalniceanu village (250km East from Bucharest), 04 November 2005. On Wednesday, The Washington Post said the CIA was running a network of secret facilities for captured terror suspects in eight countries, outside the reach of the US justice system. The rights group Human Rights Watch said it believed Poland and Romania had cooperated with the CIA based on flight records and other evidence. One of the places mentioned to be used as prison for terror suspects is Air Base 86, which was providing logistics support during the Iraq war and is supposed also to became a NATO base.

(DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

This picture taken on October 19, 2010 shows the Szczytno-Szymany airport in Szymany. Poland has charged its former spy chief as part of a probe into claims it hosted a CIA 'black site' where suspected Al-Qaeda members were allegedly tortured, a newspaper reported on March 28, 2012. Polish prosecutors launched an investigation in August 2008 into allegations that Warsaw had allowed the US Central Intelligence Agency to operate a secret prison on its soil to interrogate top suspects in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Polish campaigners said in July that they had obtained official records about seven CIA planes -- five of them carrying passengers -- which landed in 2002 and 2003 at Szymany, a Polish military base in northeast Poland.

(Artur Reszko/AFP/Getty Images)

Barbed wire fence surrounding a military area is pictured in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

This picture taken on October 19, 2010 shows the Szczytno-Szymany airport in Szymany. Poland has charged its former spy chief as part of a probe into claims it hosted a CIA 'black site' where suspected Al-Qaeda members were allegedly tortured, a newspaper reported on March 28, 2012. Polish prosecutors launched an investigation in August 2008 into allegations that Warsaw had allowed the US Central Intelligence Agency to operate a secret prison on its soil to interrogate top suspects in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Polish campaigners said in July that they had obtained official records about seven CIA planes -- five of them carrying passengers -- which landed in 2002 and 2003 at Szymany, a Polish military base in northeast Poland.

(Artur Reszko/AFP/Getty Images)

Cars pass by barbed wire fence surrounding a military area in Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

A car passes by barbed wire fence surrounding a military area in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

A U.S. soldier, carrying bottles of mineral water, walks past a C-130 Hercules transport plane at the Kogalniceanu military air base near the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania, 155 miles east of Bucharest in this March 13, 2003 file picture. Poland and Romania, close U.S. allies in ex-communist central Europe, denied November 3, 2005, they were hosting secret CIA prison facilities used to interrogate al Qaeda captives.The Washington Post reported earlier that the CIA has been hiding and interrogating suspects at a secret facility in Eastern Europe, which the paper said was part of a covert global prison system that has included sites in eight countries.

(Bogdan Cristel / Reuters)

Barbed wire fence surrounding a military area is pictured in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Barbed wire fence surrounding a military area is pictured in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Cars pass by barbed wire fence surrounding a military area in Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

A cameraman films a military area in Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Homan Square, Chicago, on February 24, 2015, the location where Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'. Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys are locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

(Photo by Marcus DiPaola/NurPhoto) 

A view of the training base of the Lithuanian State Security Department that is suspected to be a former secret CIA prison, October 2009. A suspected former CIA secret torture prison that used to hold Al Qaeda members has been uncovered in Europe. The former riding academy in Vilnius, Lithuania housed up to eight suspects at once according to a former U.S. intelligence officer.

(Photo by Lava/ Barcroft Media / Getty Images)

Barbed wire fence surrounding a military area is pictured in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

A military car passes by barbed wire fence surrounding a military area in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

The watchtower of a military area is pictured in a forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland, January 24, 2014. Polish prosecutors investigating allegations the CIA ran a secret jail in a Polish forest said on Friday they will look into a newspaper report that gave new accounts about the alleged "black site."

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

A view of the training base of the Lithuanian State Security Department that is suspected to be a former secret CIA prison, October 2009. A suspected former CIA secret torture prison that used to hold Al Qaeda members has been uncovered in Europe. The former riding academy in Vilnius, Lithuania housed up to eight suspects at once according to a former U.S. intelligence officer.

(Photo by Lava/ Barcroft Media / Getty Images)

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"We're fighting a very politically correct war," Trump said. "When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself."

Trump has advocated the use of overwhelming force against terrorist groups like ISIS in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere.

In April 2017, Trump gave the Pentagon a free hand to use the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB), the largest non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal, to strike at a cave complex inhabited by ISIS fighters in Afghanistan.

"We have given them total authorization and that's what they're doing and frankly that's why they've been so successful lately," the president said at the time. "If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what's happened over the past eight years, you'll see there's a tremendous difference, tremendous difference."

The explosion produced a mushroom cloud five miles high, and was visible for miles around.

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