The U.S. President recalled a policy of reporting on civilian deaths by U.S. drone strikes in areas outside war zones, started by Obama.
The United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday revoking the Obama-era policy of reporting on civilian deaths in drone strikes outside of active war zones.
Former President Barack Obama enacted a policy in 2016 that required U.S. intelligence officials to report civilian deaths in a bid to be more transparent about drone strikes, after having increased them to combat religious extremist groups.
“This action eliminates superfluous reporting requirements, requirements that do not improve government transparency, but rather distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission," an administrative official said.
“The United States government is fully committed to complying with its obligations under the law of armed conflict, minimizing, to the greatest extent possible, civilian casualties, and acknowledging responsibility when they unfortunately occur during military operations.”
According to Obama’s policy, the U.S. director of national intelligence was supposed to release an unclassified summary every May 1 on the number of strikes launched by the U.S. against militants outside actively hostile zones.
U.S. Representative and Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, a Democrat, said in a statement that the measure taken by Obama was "an important measure of transparency," and said that "there is simply no justification" for canceling it.
"Today’s decision underscores the need for Congress to make this reporting mandatory, something I intend to pursue through the Intelligence Authorization Act this year," he said.