The government is considering additional deployments of Predator or Reaper drones to supplement those already in the region. While the pilotless aircraft carry missiles, current talks under way revolve around their utility as surveillance tools.
The military also is considering ways to increase counterterrorism training with North African militaries, officials said.
The thrust of the efforts would be to help governments in North Africa suppress al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, and other militant groups, officials said.
“There are a lot of ideas being explored about how to step up our game against AQIM,” the U.S. official said. The administration hasn’t ruled out a direct U.S. response, officials said.
It’s time for the president, whoever he is after November, to spell out the nature of this conflict for the American people. We’ll just restate here what we wrote over the weekend: the threat is too real, and our efforts to deal with it too far-reaching, for the United States government to pretend that we don’t face a global security challenge as serious as a war.