CIA Disputes Civilian Drone Death Claims
August 12, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) — The U.S. government Friday disputed reports its drones in Pakistan have killed hundreds of civilians, including more than 160 children.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London this week said the CIA’s counter-terror drone program has killed 385 civilians, 168 of them children, in 291 strikes since 2004. The CIA says the program has killed 2,000 suspected militants but vehemently disputes the BIJ’s civilian numbers.
“The numbers cited by this organization are way off the mark,” a senior U.S. official told ABC News. “We see the battlefield in real time; the Bureau of Investigative Journalism doesn’t. … This group’s allegations about individual strikes are, in every case, divorced from the facts on the ground.”
The CIA estimates 50 civilians have been killed, the official said.
“We certainly don’t think our numbers are off the mark,” Chris Woods, the lead reporter on the BIJ project, told ABC. “The strikes we’re reporting and the casualty figures we’re reporting are directly sourced from credible media reports and other sources where we’ve done our best to get the clearest public understanding of what’s happening in these strikes. Of course what’s missing from the information is the internal information from the CIA itself.”