Drone Casualty Data Highlights the Limits, and Downsides, of Transparency

Pakistani protesters rally against recent U.S. drone attack in Pakistani territory, Lahore, Pakistan, June 10, 2016 (AP photo by K.M. Chaudary).
Pakistani protesters rally against recent U.S. drone attack in Pakistani territory, Lahore, Pakistan, June 10, 2016 (AP photo by K.M. Chaudary).

The Obama administration recently released government information about civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes targeting terrorists and violent extremists. The data was long-promised and long-awaited, but its release nevertheless received a tepid response from advocates for greater transparency. While the administration deserves some credit for finally acting on its own pledge, it’s clear that total transparency on this and other security issues is not an easy bar to clear. What’s more, it may not resolve disputes over policy and in some cases is not even desirable. Upon taking office, U.S. President Barack Obama set as an early goal “an unprecedented […]

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