Twenty Open Government Groups Ask House Intelligence and Armed Service Committees to Support Targeted Killing Transparency

In an open letter to the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, OpenTheGovernment.Org and nineteen other pro-transparency organizations asked Congress to support H.R. 4372, the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act. The bill, introduced by Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Representative Walter Jones (R-NC), would require the President to report the annual number of “combatant” and “civilian” casualties from drone strikes outside Afghanistan, for each year going back to 2008 and each year going forward. It would also require the Executive Branch to make public its definitions of the terms “combatant” and “civilian.”

“The CIA Director has said that the United States needs to publicly acknowledge when the United States accidentally kills innocent bystanders in drone strikes, but in practice our government has never done so. The Executive Branch also continues to keep secret the legal basis for the targeted killing program” said Patrice McDermott, the executive director for the OpenTheGovernment.org. “This bill is a modest but crucial step towards greater transparency.”

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