President Trump revoked a policy requiring US intelligence agencies carrying out assassinations to publish the number of civilians killed in strikes outside of war zones.
Since the Bush administration, drone strikes have been increasingly used in targeted assassinations. In 2016, an executive order came as the Obama administration faced increasing pressure to be more transparent. The executive order required the head of the CIA to release annual summaries of US drone strikes and analyze how many were killed as a result of US drone airstrikes.
Rights groups are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision, saying it could allow the CIA to conduct drone strikes without accountability. The Trump administration said the rule was “superfluous.”
A Trump administration official said, “This action eliminates superfluous reporting requirements, requirements that do not improve government transparency, but rather distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission.”
Trump’s executive order does not change requirements for reporting civilian deaths set for the military.