Daily Caller News Foundation

For Every 21 Terrorists Killed In A Drone Strike, 1 Civilian Dies, Obama Reveals

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The Obama Administration believes the U.S. has killed between 64 and 116 civilians in drone strikes along with 2500 terrorists, outside of active war zones since Obama took office in 2009. The administration defines active war zones as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

The strikes took place in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya targeting terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and its global affiliates. Along with the release of the estimate the administration issued an executive order making civilian protection an official priority of the U.S. government. The executive order requires future administrations to release civilian deaths in the drone program annually.

The administration emphasized the U.S. government “goes to extraordinary lengths to minimize the risk of civilian casualties.” The report highlights  that a lack of a uniformed enemy is one of the central conundrums of fighting a 21st century war on terror.

“We recognize that U.S. counter terrorism strikes have killed non-combatants, a reality that exists in all conflicts,” the Director of National Intelligence report said. The report ensures that the U.S. has stringent targeting standards in place, saying any strike decision is “supported by weapons testing data and combat observations, informs the analysis as to whether those not specifically targeted would likely be injured or killed in a strike.”

The report’s number of casualties differs highly from independent efforts to estimate the number of civilians killed in U.S. drone strikes. The London based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates the civilian death toll at 200 to 1,000 civilians since 2009. The administrations report acknowledges this discrepancy saying in response, “the figures we are releasing today should be considered in light of the inherent limitations on the ability to determine the precise number of combatant and non-combatant deaths outside areas of active hostilities.”

Despite the number of civilians killed the administration emphasized, “as the information we are releasing also shows, the rigorous standards and procedures we apply to such strikes have resulted in extraordinarily precise targeting.”

Follow Saagar Enjeti on Twitter

Send tips to saagar@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Saagar Enjeti