Senior U.S. officials say the White House has approved expanded CIA and U.S. military drone strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Yemen.
Officials say the U.S. will now be allowed to target individuals found to be plotting to attack the U.S. or American territory overseas, even if U.S. intelligence cannot identify the people by name.
Prior practice required that militants be identified by name before strikes.
Officials said the White House did not approve wider targeting of groups of Al Qaeda foot soldiers, a practice sometimes employed by the CIA in Pakistan, and strikes will only be carried out with Yemeni government approval.
The new policy is intended to protect Americans from a growing Al Qaeda threat in Yemen.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive strategic matters.