Watch this press briefing at the White House on 23 April — following President Obama’s announcement that it had just been realized that two hostages [one American, one Italian] had been inadvertently killed in a US strike “in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region” in January…
In the briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that “Our CounterTerrorism people follow *Near-Certainty* standards” to carry out an operation, and then evaluate it later using a *high-confidence* battle-damage assessment [[drawin on multiple sources of intel] …
He explained that *Near-Certainty* standards mean “that it was an Al Qaeda compound frequented by an al-Qaeda leader + that civilans wouldn’t be hurt”…
[The *Near-Certainty” standards are described in this link, a White House Fact Sheet Tweeted by @MicahZenko = “US Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities”
All these *Near-Certainty* standards were observed, and yet two hostages [that the US did not even know were on the site] were killed, so there will now be some kind of reassessment to see how such ops could be improved, Earnest indicated.
But these ops will not be stopped, Earnest said: “These CT [CounterTerrorism] ops, which are critical to the nationale security of the US and to the safety of American people, will continue”…
Comments from Twitter
The Associated Press @AP – Italy official seeks to explain to Parliament why it took 3 months to learn of hostage death from US drone strike http://apne.ws/1aXzhgK
New York Times World @nytimesworld – It’s become clear that when drone operators fire missiles, they often don’t know who they’re killing. http://nyti.ms/1IPB0jW
Dan Froomkin @froomkin – .@JameelJaffer’s troubling questions on drones: http://www.democracynow.org/2015/4/24/as_obama_apologizes_for_deaths_of … pic.twitter.com/E8x6bWSHa2
Jameel Jaffer @JameelJaffer · .@ACLU reaction to White House #drone-strike disclosures this morning: https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-comment-drone-strikes-killing-hostages …
Jameel Jaffer retweeted
Letta Tayler @lettatayler · Must-read @nytimes: every independent probe of #drone strikes finds “far more civilian casualties than #US admits.” http://nyti.ms/1OMCDAy
Hina Shamsi @HinaShamsi · Worth asking what White House means by “independent” review that government itself is conducting into drone deaths https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/23/statement-press-secretary …
Hina Shamsi @HinaShamsi · Apr 23
Remembering Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, 16 y.o. American drone victim, whose family did not get an apology, investigation https://www.aclu.org/blog/speakeasy/relative-americans-killed-drone-strikes-no-justice-us-courts …
Dan Froomkin @froomkin · Drones and cyber mean you can have secret wars now. But secret wars and democracy don’t go together. One has to go. http://interc.pt/1zUjPsq
Dan Froomkin @froomkin · “Thursday’s disclosures undercut years of US claims about the accuracy of the drone program” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/hostages-deaths-raise-wider-questions-about-drone-strikes-civilian-toll/2015/04/23/c70568f6-e9e5-11e4-9767-6276fc9b0ada_story.html
Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · Today, Obama admitted the US doesn’t know who it is killing with drones. http://atfp.co/1JiaV0g
Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · Reminder: Practice of “signature strikes” by drones again unknown individuals (or compounds) began in 2008. http://on.cfr.org/Mz0ovq
Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · It’s not US policy to kill anonymous males, and hope months later to determine they probably were affiliated with terror groups.
Micah Zenko @MicahZenko – Eight US citizens killed in US drone strikes: Just one was the intended target. http://atfp.co/1JiaV0g pic.twitter.com/bxrhSUYb2O
Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · 470+ innocent civilians have died in US drone strikes. Their families also deserve an apology and compensation. http://atfp.co/1JiaV0g
Micah Zenko ?@MicahZenko – US drone strike policy doesn’t say a “compound” can pose an imminent threat. http://1.usa.gov/1Hs0cQ8
Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · White House anthropomorphizing a compound as being equal to to an Al Qaeda leader is a new low.
Micah Zenko @MicahZenko · Obama absolutely prefers killing terror suspects rather than capturing them. http://atfp.co/1FMwbdp Not even close.
Here is President Barak Obama’s announcement that two hostages were accidently killed in a US CT op in January, made shortly before the White House Press Secretary’s briefing: