Obama escalated US drones despite CIA document arguing strikes ineffective and risky

December 19, 2014

Image of drones

A report – from July 2009 – leaked yesterday, has revealed that the CIA warned that covert US drone strikes were not successfully targeting the Taliban and instead often killing unintended targets. After this report was published, President Obama escalated the covert drone programme. US drones have killed thousands of people in Yemen and Pakistan – both countries with which the US is not at war.

A recently produced report by human rights NGO Reprieve, which represents civilian victims of drone strikes, found that the US drone programme has killed hundreds of unintended targets in Yemen and Pakistan – including women and children.

Commenting, Jennifer Gibson, Staff Attorney at human rights NGO Reprieve, said: “President Obama keeps insisting that the US drone programme is precise and effective. Today’s leak shows that in 2009 – before the programme had reached the scale we see today – the CIA produced a report warning that drone strikes were ineffective and counter-productive. Yet after this guidance was published, President Obama ramped up strikes, killing thousands of people in Yemen and Pakistan.

“Many of those killed were mistaken targets – a recent study by Reprieve found that in an effort to kill just 41 men, US drones killed 1,147 other people, including 142 children. Today’s revelation adds to the mounting evidence that US drones are neither effective nor precise.”


Notes to editors

1. The report by Reprieve is available upon request.

2. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: + 44 207 553 8160