At CIA, Brennan should bring drones out of the shadows
WASHINGTON DC - The heated public debate surrounding John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA Director shows the increasing concern of many Americans about the US Government’s covert drone program. One of the best ways the Administration can address the lack of transparency and accountability in drone use is to fully move the program into the Department of Defense, which has a great deal more oversight and experience in minimizing civilian harm.
In the meantime, Center for Civilians in Conflict hopes the Central Intelligence Agency under Brennan’s leadership will be one that prioritizes avoiding harm to civilians if and when using lethal force.
Sarah Holewinski, Executive Director, Center for Civilians in Conflict said:
“John Brennan has been at the center of decision making about the covert drone program and at the forefront of the push towards making it more transparent. I hope that as head of the CIA, Brennan will use his position to bring the drone program out of the shadows and put it where it belongs, which is with the Department of Defense. Use of force on this scale should be housed in a military institution that's not perfect but at least has experience in civilian protection, accountability, and is openly self-reflective about its actions.”
“Brennan’s statement during his confirmation hearing on the need to publicly acknowledge civilian deaths caused by drones and provide condolence payments is highly encouraging. Still, the details of how civilian harm gets investigated—and who is considered a civilian—remain murky.
"Our interviews with civilians who have been harmed by US drone strikes show that acknowledgement of the harm caused, whether the loss is a house, a limb, or a family member, is incredibly significant. If the strikes are conducted as conscientiously as the Administration claims, there would be no reason not to make public what procedures and protocols are followed to ensure civilians are avoided."