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Trump Nixes Obama-Era Order on Drone Strike Deaths

Administration says move gets rid of 'superfluous' mandates
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2019 8:00 AM CST
This photo from May 22, 2016, purports to show the destroyed vehicle in which Mullah Mansour was traveling in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, near Afghanistan's border.   (AP Photo/Abdul Salam Khan)

(Newser) – The CIA has since 2016 been obligated to put out yearly summaries of how many drone strikes the US has carried out, as well as how many civilian deaths outside of war zones that those strikes caused. But NBC News reports no such report came last year, as was required by an executive order issued by then-President Obama in the summer of 2016 following an outcry over transparency. And no more will be coming. President Trump on Wednesday issued his own executive order that effectively revokes Obama's. "This action eliminates superfluous reporting requirements, requirements that do not improve government transparency, but rather distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission," a National Security Council spokesperson says.

Critics of the new order say the revocation gets rid of an accountability check, with some noting that the stats were also useful at pushing back against terrorist propaganda. Via the BBC, a Human Rights First rep tells AFP that the new move is a "dangerous" one, while Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, notes there's "simply no justification" for it. One thing the new executive order doesn't impact, per the New York Times: a separate law from Congress that calls for Pentagon numbers on all civilian deaths from all military operations. (Read more drone strike stories.)

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