Courtesy of The Hill:
President Trump on Wednesday ended an Obama-era requirement that the U.S. government publish an annual report on the number of people killed in drone strikes or other counterterrorism operations outside of war zones.
Trump issued an executive order revoking the requirement, capping months of speculation that he would revoke the disclosure rule.
The order says the director of national intelligence must no longer issue “an unclassified summary of the number of strikes undertaken by the United States government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities, as well as assessments of combatant and non-combatant deaths resulting from those strikes, among other information.”
The White House last year chose not to publish the unclassified report detailing the number of strikes carried out against terrorist targets and the number of combatants and civilians killed. The administration was facing a May 1 deadline to issue the next report.
Former President Obama mandated the public report in a July 2016 executive order following years of criticism that his administration’s use of drone strikes against terror groups in countries such as Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen was not transparent.
“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 (NSC) spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday.
Officials pointed to a major defense law passed by Congress last year that requires the administration to submit a civilian casualty report to lawmakers. That measure, however, allows the Defense secretary to classify the report if he decides that its publication would pose a national security threat.
Why do I get the feeling that when you put the kibosh on the public’s ability to see how many people are being killed by drone strikes that it means a whole lot more people are now going to be killed by drone strikes?
My real concern is that Trump will find a way to start targeting journalists overseas and calling those killings “accidental,” and then if that works out start having similar accidents here in the states.
I know, I know, that sounds crazy. But then again you do know who we are dealing with here, right?