U.S. has drone base in Saudi Arabia: NYT

The ScanEagle drone, in image from website of its manufacturer, Boeing subsidiary Insitution

WASHINGTON The CIA conducts lethal drone strikes against al Qaeda militants inside Yemen from a remote base in Saudi Arabia, including the strike that killed the U.S.-born al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki.

The location of the base was first disclosed by The New York Times online Tuesday night.

The Associated Press first reported the construction of the base in June 2011 but withheld the exact location at the request of senior administration officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because portions of the military and CIA missions in Yemen are classified.

Any operation by U.S. military or intelligence officials inside Saudi Arabia is politically and religiously sensitive. Al Qaeda and other militant groups have used the Gulf kingdom's close working relationship with U.S. counterterrorism officials to stir internal dissent against the Saudi regime.