Most Killed by US Drones Were Not Targeted

Most Killed by US Drones Were Not TargetedMost Killed by US Drones Were Not Targeted

A cache of secret military documents about the US military's assassination program in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen show the extent to which US President Barack Obama has employed drone strikes and what it calls "target killings".

Provided by an unnamed "whistleblower", the documents were published by the online publication The Intercept on Thursday as an eight-part investigation called "The Drone Papers".

In one five-month period, according to the documents, 90% of those killed by drone strikes in the three countries were not the intended targets, Al Jazeera reports.  

The Drone Papers also detail the decision-making process that leads to drone strikes, which are ultimately signed off by the president.

"From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama's weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed–through secretive processes, without indictment or trial–worthy of execution," The Intercept wrote.

One of the papers–a document circulated by the Pentagon's Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance unit in 2013–suggests that the US often carries drone strikes based on thin evidence.

"This outrageous explosion of watch-listing–of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield–it was, from the very first instance, wrong," the unnamed source told The Intercept.