I learned to like drones while I was in Somalia. I was happy, as a hostage, to hear them in the air. But the lack of transparency and the betrayal of a presidential promise — against signature strikes in Pakistan — have been shameful. Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, two hostages in Pakistan, died in a signature strike, which is a missile attack not grounded in specific intelligence about the terrorist targets but on their “patterns of behavior.”

The strike was conducted despite Mr. Obama’s indication in a speech in 2013 that the C.I.A. would no longer conduct such signature strikes after 2014, when American “combat operations” in Afghanistan were scheduled to end. Several American officials said Thursday that the deadline had not been enforced.

Drones aren’t inherently evil, but they make great evil awfully simple to accomplish. This excellent piece in the New York Times shows how far beyond government oversight the CIA program has ranged. Drones are still popular in Washington; but if the president can’t control them, who can?