The story comes from The Telegraph.
US media kept Saudi drone base secret for two years
It only came to light after a blackout on reporting agreed by the media and the Obama administration was broken by two US newspapers.
The revelation that the US has been operating a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia for the past two years came after a blackout on reporting agreed by American media and the Obama administration was broken by two US newspapers.
The first pilotless CIA mission flown from the base killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric and senior figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and a deputy in September 2011, reports said.
Another Predator drone strike killed Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahman weeks later, though US officials claimed in the Washington Post that he was not the target of the attack.
The Washington Post said several US media organisations knew of the drone base but abided by official requests not to disclose its location because of the risk to counter-terrorism cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
The Post said that when it learned that another news organisation - the New York Times - planned to break the agreement, it decided to publish what it knew.
Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung of the Post said: "The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network’s most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.
"The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organisation was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organisations that had been aware of the location for more than a year."
A Justice Department memo published by NBC News on Tuesday argued that Americans high up in Al-Qaeda could be lawfully killed, even without evidence they are actively plotting an attack.
President Barack Obama’s decision to nominate John Brennan as CIA director has brought into focus the quasi-official lethal drone programme, which has killed an estimated 3,000 militants and civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
Mr Brennan faces a confirmation hearing in Congress on Thursday that provides critics a rare chance to question the ethics of using drone missiles.