WASHINGTON - The CIA is pushing for Obama administration's approval to acquire more drones to add to their inventory, saying that they need to be able to expand quickly into Northern Africa without pulling drones out of Pakistan, according to media reports.

The American spy agency is making the case for the expansion in its armed drones’ fleet, despite the fact that the airborne strikes mostly result in civilian casualties, one report said.

The proposal by CIA Director David Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, The Washington Post said, citing government officials. A report in the newspaper said the move would extend the spy service’s decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force.

If Obama administration gives the CIA permission to use "signature strikes" in Yemen then the agency would be allowed to hit targets based solely on intelligence and without knowing the identities of those who will be killed, it said.

The report comes as the number of US assassination drone strikes in Yemen has already hit a record.

Critics of the drone program believe that more innocent people will be killed if US strikes are expanded in Yemen. US assassination drone strikes killed at least 64 people, mainly civilians, in southern Yemen over a period of three days in March.

The CIA has been flying drones in Yemen since last year from a secret base in the country. Last year, two American citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, were also killed in US drone attacks in Yemen. Their deaths sparked strong criticism against Obama administration’s targeted killings of civilians across the world, including American citizens without any judicial procedures.

Leading academic Professor Noam Chomsky has also condemned US policy of targeting terror suspects in foreign countries using unmanned aircraft, saying the tactic amounts to ''state terror''.

The CIA proposal for the "signature strikes" is awaiting a decision by the National Security Council and officials from the White House and the CIA have declined to comment.

The practice of "signature strikes" has been a core element of the CIA's drone campaign in Pakistan for several years. Thousands of Pakistanis have been killed in US assassination drone attacks.

Officials seem to be citing the Benghazi Consulate attack as justification now for the drones, but of course the CIA’s push for more drones began long before last month’s attack.