“The Most Transparent Administration In History”: Obama Administration Quietly Strips Senate Bill Of Provision Requiring Disclosure Of Annual Drone Kills

220px-MQ-9_Reaper_-_090609-F-0000M-777President_Barack_ObamaThere is yet another victory for the national security state under President Obama. The Obama Administration has succeeded, with the help of Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, in quietly removing a provision that would seem unobjectionable to a President who pledged “the most transparent Administration in history.” The provision simply required disclosure of the number of people killed each year by U.S. drone attacks. Not the details mind you. Just the figure. That sent the intelligence community into outrage over having to tell the public how many people have been killed in just this one area. The result was that it was simply stripped out of the Senate bill without a vote or debate.

The person demanding the change was James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence. You recall Clapper’s last notable appearance before Congress was to lie about surveillance programs — an act viewed widely as perjury but Clapper has not been even investigated let alone prosecuted by the Obama Administration. Instead, he is now working to strip out provisions requiring the most basic form of disclosure. That must certainly be a comfort to an official who admitted to previously giving false information to Congress. If no disclosure is required, there could be no new charges of perjury.

The provision, passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee last year as part of its authorization bill, required Obama to annually disclose “the total number of combatants killed or injured during the preceding year by the use of targeted lethal force outside the United States by remotely piloted aircraft.” Note that it did not require details on countries, identifications, or operations. Just a number.

Intelligence officials demanded that the provision be removed. Once again, they got their way in a back door agreement. No debate on the floor of course. The decision was made by the intelligence community and demanded by the White House. That is all.

220px-James_R._Clapper_official_portraitOf course, President Obama just got finished promising the public last May that this time he really means it: he will demand transparency from intelligence operations. The change this week reflects that little has been done on this promise which (like the one made earlier) has been honored primarily in the breach. But don’t worry, the White House sent out Clapper to assure the public that he is exploring ways to “provide the American people more information about the United States’ use of force outside areas of active hostilities.” Now if that is not reassuring, I cannot imagine what would be.

Source: New York Times

36 thoughts on ““The Most Transparent Administration In History”: Obama Administration Quietly Strips Senate Bill Of Provision Requiring Disclosure Of Annual Drone Kills”

  1. Use of Drones for Killings Risks a War Without End, Panel Concludes in Report


    JUNE 26, 2014



    “WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a “slippery slope” into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials.

    The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits. The report urges the administration to conduct such an analysis and to give a public accounting of both militants and civilians killed in drone strikes.

    The findings amount to a sort of report card — one that delivers middling grades — a year after President Obama gave a speech promising new guidelines for drone strikes and greater transparency about the killing operations. The report is especially critical of the secrecy that continues to envelop drone operations and questions whether they might be creating terrorists even as they are killing them.

    “There is no indication that a U.S. strategy to destroy Al Qaeda has curbed the rise of Sunni Islamic extremism, deterred the establishment of Shia Islamic extremist groups or advanced long-term U.S. security interests,” the report concludes.

    The panel includes a number of former Pentagon and C.I.A. officials and is jointly led by retired General John P. Abizaid, the former head of United States Central Command, and Rosa Brooks, a fellow at the New America Foundation and a law professor at Georgetown University. Other members of the group are Philip Mudd, a former deputy director of the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center; Jeffrey Smith, who served as the C.I.A.’s general counsel during the Clinton administration; and John B. Bellinger III, the legal adviser to the National Security Council and the State Department during the administration of George W. Bush.

    The report will be publicly released on Thursday morning by the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. The New York Times was given a copy of the report in advance of its release.”

    (The report:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/26/world/DRONES-document.html )

  2. 76% of that list are males of military age, 13 and older.

    Wow! 13 years old

    94 of stated age in that list for Pakistan.
    24 are 12 or under
    8 are 13
    9 are 14
    10 are 15
    22 are 16
    14 are 17
    3 are 18
    3 are 19

    How old do you have to be in the US before you can buy a gun? 18?

    So anyway…
    Lurking in some remote Pakistani valley were these 8 13-year-old terrorists. They were a mortal threat to the US. They had to be killed. If they got loose, they could have inflicted massive damage on the US.

    What is it about American kids? What a bunch of complete pussies!!
    They can’t be trusted to be in the military until they are 18 – but can enlist at 17 if they have parental consent.

    Meanwhile in Pakistan, they are breeding lean mean fighting machines that at 13 years old pose such a serious threat to the US that someone has to authorize the use of a drone to kill them.
    That’s about US$60,000-ish for one Hellfire alone. Add whatever for funding the ongoing infrastucture that leads up to to the missile being fired.

    For example, if one side puts an anti-aircraft gun on top of a hospital

    I think that you will find that the administration asserts that drone operators do not fire unless they are certain of their target and that no innocents are in the area of damage.
    Hitting a hospital or a school would probably be counter to guidelines.

    I am always intriqued by some peoples’ ease with collateral damage.

    Try looking at collateral damage this way…..
    The targets of the 9/11 hijackers were symbolic buildings.
    The Twin Towers were the major symbol of US financial power. The Pentagon was the major symbol of US military power. Both of these would be seen as hand-in-glove oppressors by many in the ME.
    The people in the aircraft and on the ground were just collateral damage.

    Collateral damage is always easier to rationalize when it only happens to some brown people far far away.
    Look. If you have to kill 8 highly-dangerous 13-year-old hardened terrorists, you’re going to get some collateral under “military age” as well.
    But hey! 7 of them were 12. They could well have been only weeks or days from turning 13 – at which stage they would become a mortal threat.

    I think the big takeaway from all of this is that we need to start training our kids to kill people from at least the age of 13. Otherwise we’re going to be overrun.
    There would be a lot of advantages to that. There would be massive cost savings on taxpayer dollars.
    Smaller ships, combat aircraft, tanks and human-manned vehicles. Huge savings on materials and shipping.
    Smaller uniforms, body armor, etc. Costs plummet!
    Less body weight to move around the planet for military operations and surgical strikes.
    Smaller bodybags, coffins and flags should anything unfortunate happen.
    I think that there is a compelling case here for a US military age of 13. It makes total sense.

  3. Paul,

    The only liar in Joe Wilson’s case was Joe Wilson!

    Rep. Joe Wilson shocked many observers Wednesday night when he shouted, “You lie!” after the president denied that health care legislation would provide free coverage for illegal immigrants

  4. Obama’s Killer Drone Kill List here: This is the List up to Dec 2012 of the innocent children killed by Obama’s Drones. After Dec 2012 the CIA stopped releasing the names of the reported dead children. The Facts of this horrific Genocide on the innocent children who were in the way of drone bombs did not fit into the Success Story Line by the Obama Admin. .
    Compiled from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports
    Name | Age | Gender
    Noor Aziz | 8 | male
    Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
    Noor Syed | 8 | male
    Wajid Noor | 9 | male
    Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
    Ayeesha | 3 | female
    Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
    Shoaib | 8 | male
    Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
    Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
    Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
    Maezol Khan | 8 | female
    Nasir Khan | male
    Naeem Khan | male
    Naeemullah | male
    Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
    Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
    Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
    Ziauddin | 16 | male
    Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
    Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
    Ilyas | 13 | male
    Sohail | 7 | male
    Asadullah | 9 | male
    khalilullah | 9 | male
    Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
    Khalid | 12 | male
    Saifullah | 9 | male
    Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
    Nawab | 17 | male
    Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
    Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
    Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
    Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
    Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
    Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
    Abdullah | 18 | male
    Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
    Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
    Shahbuddin | 15 | male
    Yahya Khan | 16 |male
    Rahatullah |17 | male
    Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
    Shahjehan | 15 | male
    Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
    Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
    Numair | 14 | male
    Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
    Ihsanullah | 16 | male
    Luqman | 12 | male
    Jannatullah | 13 | male
    Ismail | 12 | male
    Taseel Khan | 18 | male
    Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
    Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
    Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
    Alam Nabi | 11 | male
    Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
    Rahmatullah | 14 | male
    Abdus Samad | 17 | male
    Siraj | 16 | male
    Saeedullah | 17 | male
    Abdul Waris | 16 | male
    Darvesh | 13 | male
    Ameer Said | 15 | male
    Shaukat | 14 | male
    Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
    Salman | 12 | male
    Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
    Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
    Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
    Iftikhar | 17 | male
    Inayatullah | 15 | male
    Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
    Ihsanullah | 16 | male
    Luqman | 12 | male
    Jannatullah | 13 | male
    Ismail | 12 | male
    Abdul Waris | 16 | male
    Darvesh | 13 | male
    Ameer Said | 15 | male
    Shaukat | 14 | male
    Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
    Adnan | 16 | male
    Najibullah | 13 | male
    Naeemullah | 17 | male
    Hizbullah | 10 | male
    Kitab Gul | 12 | male
    Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
    Zabihullah | 16 | male
    Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
    Shabir | 15 | male
    Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
    Shafiullah | 16 | male
    Nimatullah | 14 | male
    Shakirullah | 16 | male
    Talha | 8 | male

    Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female
    Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female
    Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female
    Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female
    Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male
    Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male
    Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female
    Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female
    Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female
    Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female
    Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male
    Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female
    Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female
    Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female
    Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female
    Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male
    Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female
    Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female
    Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male
    Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male
    Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female
    AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male
    Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male
    Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki | 17 | male
    Nasser Salim | 19

    1. It, you should do some analysis of the figures for Pakistan instead of simply asserting that all are innocents. 76% of that list are males of military age, 13 and older. Thus I have a hard time crediting that they are all innocent. They may well be that, but it illustrates the difficulty in determining the facts. Yemen is another matter which looks like it was a mistake of some kind. Without further information, it is hard to judge the circumstances. For example, if one side puts an anti-aircraft gun on top of a hospital and it gets bombed and lots of patient are killed, the fault is NOT with the side that bombed the gun, but that of the side that MADE the hospital a legitimate target.

  5. Until the elites are on the “receiving end” of intelligence abuses – nothing will change.

    Decades ago judges essentially threw citizens to the wolves on privacy until reporters started snooping into judges video rentals from adult video stores – when it affected them they were concerned about “our” Bill of Rights.

    When judges are pulled over for a broken tail-light and police search their smartphones things will change for the citizens they are supposed to protect (re: this week’s Supreme Court case).


  6. I like the point made about our post 9/11 presidents. They appear to be worse than any since WW II, but that monumental lie that was the government’s involvement in that planned fiasco has a lot to do with it. We should assume that the office will have no merit from now on, until proven otherwise.

  7. So that PhD allows you to write 12 lines of incomprehensible BS and fob it off as erudite and learned……

  8. I find that the human species has lived in societies which have, as a foundational, historic and pre-historic basis, a false premise which seems to me to be essentially a social mandate for deception embedded deeply in millenia-old social norms.

    That deception is, to me, the belief that avoidable events actually happen.

    If a person actually could have avoided doing something later deemed undesirable which the person actually did, then the social tradition of social norm violation being wrong and punishable would be intelligibly truthful.

    What I observe, when people seem to be acting hypocritically, is the deception mandate of social norms asserting its pragmatic impossibility.

    That points toward a situational attribution being immensely more accurate than a dispositional attribution, for me, anyway.

  9. What more need be said, and Hillary does not understand why snowden didn’t feel safe in disclosing information here.

  10. Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries, hate the fact we used Drones on them–I really don’t care what they think.

    That’s the right way of looking at the world.
    What the people of those countries think about the US helping to make their lives a misery does not matter.

    The US could shower them with lovely soft toys and 100-dollar bills each and every day, but it would not matter…
    because ….

    It is one of the Muslim Commandments .. a cornerstone of Islam..

    ‘Thou shalt hate anyone with freedoms – even if they are really really nice to you.’

    Well if that’s the way they feel, what’s the harm in bombing them to hell and back. They can’t hate us any more than they already did even before they even heard of us.

  11. No Dredd, I don’t think we’ll ever have a truly transparent president. In fact, I doubt that most of our presidents have ever really been transparent.

    Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries, hate the fact we used Drones on them–I really don’t care what they think.

    Johanna, please enlighten me on what good Obama has done for America as a whole?

  12. “Just HOW will the intelligence agencies KNOW how many were killed,”

    If they were trowing in strikes at randon, they would have no way of knowing.
    However, they claim to be surgical, ensuring there are no women, kids & fluffy kittens when they fire. The operators are looking at individuals on their screens. They would know fairly precisely.

    “what possible relevance does that have to anything?”
    The relevance is that the numbers almost certainly indicate that they are exceeding AUMF – whereby individuals targeted have to be engaged in or plotting attacks on the US.

    It seems that the strikes in Yemen – for example – are simply in support of the regime and hitting domestic insurgency.

    People on the ground are going to know how many are killed and who/what they are.
    You get this sort of effect:

    “Last year, London-based forensic psychologist Peter Schaapveld presented research he’d conducted on the psychological impact of drone strikes in Yemen to a British parliamentary sub-committee. He reported that 92 percent of the population sample he examined was found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder – with children being the demographic most significantly affected. Women, he found, claimed to be miscarrying from their fear of drones. “This is a population that by any figure is hugely suffering,” Schaapveld said. The fear of drones, he added, “is traumatizing an entire generation.”
    “Missile strikes, allegedly by U.S. drones — which American officials argue is a safer, more efficient and precise form of aerial warfare than using piloted fighter jets or sending ground troops — have now been reported in twelve of Yemen’s 21 governorates, with as many as 504 people killed in confirmed strikes since 2002, according to data compiled by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. ”

    “The overall fatality count, though, is clouded by America’s growing use of so-called “signature strikes” — guilt-by-association attacks against suspected but unidentified targets. Having committed no prior crime, these victims’ names are not part of any list and in some cases, not even known. Many Yemenis say that the increased prevalence of signature strikes makes it impossible for them to predetermine possible targets, heightening anxieties among those who feel that they will inevitably end up in the crosshairs.”

    The people on the ground happen to be Muslim.
    Given the effect of USn strikes, there could well be a growing amount of “Quite Irrated Islam” or even “Really Annoyed Islam”. Who knows – after years of US interference in Mulsim countries there might even be an element of “Radical Islam” being generated. Goodness! Who would have thought?

    1. All Sling has given is claims not facts. Then he denounces this so called FACT of “innocents” killed without being able to tell us how they are innocent or how he or others makes that determination. I suppose that during WWII, a bombing strike on Hitler at a party would have claimed a LOT of so called “innocents”, but this is silly to call them that in such a situation of warfare. I guess Sling would object to this kind of strike too, since just because a person is at the social function, does NOT mean that they are Nazis and the US would be simply using guilt by association. This absolutism is absurd and not worthy of consideration by any rational person. I can understand that pacifists would object to any “innocents”, but most people other than them understand reality and warfare so such opinions have little effect or political impact.

      As for the criterion for targeting, it is silly to publish those rules or advertise them. I guess Sling would only allow an attack on these folks when they are in a war conference or constructing a bomb. The rest of the time, they are sacrosanct so as not to kill their families! Get real. If you are willing to slaughter innocents who had nothing to do with the warfare at all, then you must expect similar lack of consideration given to them and their friends and families. There is a simple solution to their problem of PTS and that is to move, kick out the terrorists, or have nothing whatsoever to do with them. Simple.

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