X

CIA Classified 25% of Drone Victims as 'Other'

Agency often didn't know who it was targeting in Pakistan: report
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2013 7:15 AM CDT
Updated Jun 6, 2013 7:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – As it pursued suspected terrorists in Pakistan, the CIA wasn't always certain of the identity of those it was killing: Some 25% of those taken out by drones over a span of 14 months beginning in September 2010 were categorized as "other militants," NBC News finds after reviewing classified documents. That category is reserved for targets whose affiliation (ie, al-Qaeda, Taliban) isn't clear to the CIA, which NBC says raises a big question: how could these individuals then be deemed a threat to US security? It may all boil down to the use of "signature" strikes, in which targets are identified via "circumstantial evidence" like behavioral patterns and associates, says a former White House official. Up to half the Pakistan strikes in 2009 to 2010 were signature strikes, says another ex-official.

story continues below

Other former top Obama officials cite concerns about the accuracy of the CIA's own reporting of the attacks, including death tallies. Indeed, the numbers sometimes appear murky: One strike report says seven to 10 people were killed; another notes that 20 to 22 died. And the documents identify only one of 600 people killed in the 14-month period as a civilian. That's "just not believable," says a former State Department adviser. Worth noting: Though NBC calls its report "exclusive," McClatchy appears to have covered the same ground in April, the Atlantic Wire notes; Newser didn't cover the story that time around. (Read more CIA stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X