The Senate has removed a provision from its most recent intelligence bill on drone policy that would have required Obama to publicly disclose injuries and deaths from drone strikes. So Obama now has free reign to kill as many people as he wants with drone strikes, and there is almost no way to keep him accountable.
If we don’t have drone information from our own government, where can we go to get it? The Obama administration knows it can discount reports from other countries as “exaggerated.” And if it can hide its own internal reports from public scrutiny, then the Obama administration has achieved de facto drone immunity.
And there has still been no explicit guarantee from the Department of Justice that domestic drone strikes are illegal. Which means that, under the current law, American citizens charged with “domestic terrorism” could be killed by drone strikes, and the President presumably would not have to disclose it. All for the sake of national security, I’m sure. Given the fact that Harry Reid blanketly called Cliven Bundy and his militia men “domestic terrorists,” this is troubling news indeed.
Currently, drone strikes are carried out by the CIA, which is just one reason why they are not discussed in great detail. Apparently the CIA, presumably not a law enforcement agency, likes to keep all of its operations cloaked in secrecy. The problem with this, obviously, is that it puts the CIA and the Obama administration in a place where they can kill people without a trial or formal charges and no one even knows enough to hold them accountable.
In other words, the situation is really bad. As Steven Hawkins, the executive director of Amnesty International USA, said:
Congress is charged with oversight of the administration and this is a matter of life and death. A basic report on the number of people killed shouldn’t be too much to ask.
No doubt. Congress has really dropped the ball on this one.