Target: Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell & Democrat Minority Leader Harry Reid
Goal: Investigate and provide heightened oversight of U.S. drone strikes.
A whistleblower has leaked classified documents on the U.S. drone program that undermines the government’s claims that the strikes are conducted skillfully and with respect for civilian life. The documents, which appeared on The Intercept’s website, expose troubling revelations about the drone program that civil rights organizations claim may violate international law and warrant congressional inquiry. The Obama Administration has kept the methods and impact of the drone strikes highly secretive, and the leaked documents show what they’ve been hiding. The revelations paint a picture of an assassination policy with unreliable intelligence and little caution towards preventing civilian casualties.
The whistleblower, who is part of the U.S. intelligence community, leaked the classified documents because the source believes the public has a right to know how people are chosen as targets and assassinated on orders from the highest level of government. The documents reveal that targets are tracked using metadata from phones and computers, called SIGINT, which has lead to faulty information and the killing of innocent people. SIGNIT is the source for more than half of the intelligence used to track targets, even though the government admits it’s an inferior method. The documents also reveal that the strikes frequently kill many more than the intended target. The government hides the actual number of civilian casualties by classifying unidentified victims as “enemies killed in action.”
Officials within the intelligence community argue that drone strikes severely limit their intelligence gathering. Lethal strikes are outweighing the other methods of dealing with terrorism, such as capture and interrogation. The U.S. is assassinating insurgents in the Arab world and, in the process, posing the same threat they claim to be fighting. It makes no difference to the victims if a suicide bomber or a half blind drone strike kills them.
The White House is involved in ongoing wars in the Middle East, increasingly relying on unconventional methods for their counterterrorism policy. The truths revealed in the documents show that the drone program amounts to a global assassination campaign. The whistleblower told The Intercept, “We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it.” Now that you have this information, do something about it. Sign this petition to demand immediate Congressional inquiry and enhanced oversight of the drone program.
Dear Mr. McConnell and Reid,
The leaked classified documents outlining the government’s drone program raises alarm that the Obama Administration is violating international law and purposefully hiding information from the public. The program’s inner workings are anything but the cautious and refined policy the administration claims it to be. Civil right organizations are demanding urgent congressional inquiry and amplified oversight of drone strikes.
Drone strikes consistently kill more people than the intended targets and leaves an immeasurable civilian toll by labeling unidentified victims as “enemies killed in action.” Amnesty International claims this information raises concern that the government is classifying drone strike victims as combatants to justify murder. It’s also been revealed that the targets’ whereabouts are found through unreliable methods, a distinct shortcoming of the government’s proclaimed precise killings.
This global killing program must offer transparency to ensure the government is complying with international law. I am urging you to investigate and provide tougher oversight of the drone strikes, while holding the government accountable for any violations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: MarsRover