The White House wants to 'maintain' public confidence in drone strikes by releasing death tolls

Published March 8th, 2016 - 11:00 GMT
The White House announced on Monday that death tolls from US counterterrorism strikes abroad will be released in an effort to maintain the legitimacy of its operations.  (AFP/File)
The White House announced on Monday that death tolls from US counterterrorism strikes abroad will be released in an effort to maintain the legitimacy of its operations. (AFP/File)

The reports, which are expected to be released annually in the future, will reportedly also include the number for people killed in drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

The White House hopes that the increased transparency will help maintain public and international support for the administration’s security policies.

“We know that not only is greater transparency the right thing to do, it is the best way to maintain the legitimacy of our counterterrorism actions and the broad support of our allies,” White House homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said during a speech on Monday to the Council on Foreign Relations.

US drone strikes are thought to have killed thousands of militants and civilians, however exact numbers are shrouded in secrecy. Human Rights groups have continued to press for the government to be more open about true death tolls.

“The president’s view is that the American public and the world can have greater confidence in the success and the effectiveness of these programs to fight terrorism if we’re more transparent about them,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

The data released will contain the numbers of combatant and noncombatant deaths since 2009, outside of areas of active hostilities - meaning no data from Iraq or Syria.


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