by Chris Woods
Claims by the Central Intelligence Agency’s new director-designate that the US intelligence services received ‘no information’ about any civilians killed by US drones in the year prior to June 2011 do not appear to bear scrutiny.
John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to take over the CIA, had claimed in a major speech in summer 2011 that there had not been ‘a single collateral death’ in a covert US strike in the past year due to the precision of drones. He later qualified his statement, saying that at the time of his comments he had ‘no information’ to the contrary.
Yet just three months beforehand, a major US drone strike had killed 42 Pakistanis, most of them civilians. As well as being widely reported by the media at the time, Islamabad’s concerns regarding those deaths were also directly conveyed to the ‘highest levels of the Administration’ by Washington’s then-ambassador to Pakistan, it has been confirmed to the Bureau.
This confirmation suggests that senior US officials were aware of dozens of civilian deaths just weeks before Brennan’s claims to the contrary.