October 16, 2015
Two years after government contractor Edward Snowden famously leaked secret NSA documents, another release of classified information has occurred. This time, The Intercept — which is staffed by journalists who previously worked with Snowden — has published what it claims is a comprehensive breakdown of the U.S. government’s military drone program. The report, featuring documents provided by another whistleblower, offers details regarding U.S. strategy to kill foreign targets in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen — and highlights the unintended consequences involved with drone wars.
“The revelations about the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command actions include primary source evidence that as many as 90 percent of U.S. drone killings in one five month period weren’t the intended target,” reports Wired, “that a former British citizen was killed in a drone strike despite repeated opportunities to capture him instead, and details of the grisly process by which the American government chooses who will die, down to the ‘baseball cards’ of profile information created for individual targets, and the chain of authorization that goes up directly to the president.”
According to The Intercept, the whistleblower remains anonymous — but unlike the Snowden leak or Chelsea Manning’s release of military and diplomatic secrets five years ago on WikiLeaks — the unnamed source in this case also provides commentary in his or her own words.
“This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — 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 source reportedly told The Intercept. “We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it.”
To access “The Drone Papers” in their entirety, visit The Intercept.