WASHINGTON. May 14. An important al Qaeda operative, who was vacationing in the Bahamas, was killed by a semi-autonomous CIA ‘Predator' drone early yesterday.
"We had been trying to target Haithem al-Yemeni for months," said Porter Goss, this morning at a hastily-called press conference in Washington. "Finally we got the break we needed. We found out, surreptitiously of course, that he had a vacation-form filled out and then signed by Osama bin Laden himself, and that his destination was Nassau in the Bahamas. After that we simply programmed ‘Li'l Abner' to do his thing. It worked wonderfully."
‘Li'l Abner' is the name given to the CIA's ‘Predator' drone that had previously been assigned to duty in Kabul. It was recently moved back to the Naval base at Guantanamo and flew on its mission from there. Programming of the drone consists of an upload of the target's likeness, silhouette, and probable location. Since the drone itself is semi-autonomous, it makes the final decision on the target while it is in the air.
"The nature of the drone's personnel-sensing is still a bit…shall we say, shaky," said Goss. "For this reason I'd like to apologize to the two families that lost their fathers while they were also vacationing in Nassau. Unfortunately they looked quite a bit like al-Yemeni himself and were in the wrong place at the wrong time."
This reporter asked Mr. Goss about how the CIA was certain that the third victim was indeed al-Yemeni. "Quite simple, I assure you. The drone sends video back from the ordnance itself, and we analyze it. In this case, we were sure it was al-Yemeni. Let me show all of you."
The lights dimmed and a video screen popped up behind Goss. The flickering image was very much like that of images from the first Gulf war, and the later bombing of Sarajevo. We see a man standing next to a pool holding a cocktail; his image gets closer and closer. Finally, he notices the ordnance coming towards him. A look of terror comes over his face; he tries to run. As he is running we see the back of his shirt get closer and closer until it disappears-everything goes black. The lights come up then. "Subsequent analysis has proven that this was al-Yemeni, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Any more questions?"
‘Li'l Abner' has a range of 1000 nautical miles and is purposefully stationed at least 1100 nautical miles away from Washington D.C.