President Barack Obama is acknowledging that "civilians have been killed that shouldn't have been" in past U.S. drone strikes, but says the administration is now "very cautious" about taking strikes where women or children are present. Asked at a news conference about an increase in the number of people targeted in several drone strikes against extremist targets in Libya, Syria and Somalia, Obama said the "legal architecture" around the use of drone strikes in the past hasn't been precise. But in the last several years, he says, the administration has worked hard to prevent civilian deaths. He says the U.S. has to take responsibility when it is not acting appropriately. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Between 64 and 116 civilians have died in U.S. drone strikes against foreign terrorists in places like Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa, according to new numbers released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Strikes in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were not included in these newly released numbers, as the Department of Defense has its own procedures for releasing such information in active U.S. war zones, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday, shortly before the information's release.
The White House is to disclose the casualties with a range of numbers indicating that roughly 100 civilians have been inadvertently killed by 500 drone strikes since 2009. The estimate is said to cover drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. It does not cover those in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.
President Barack Obama is expected to disclose as early as Friday the number of civilians killed in U.S. military and CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa since he took office and will issue an executive order that makes protecting civilians a more integral part of planning U.S. military operations, according to activists and other individuals familiar with the report.