Drone documents leaked

tsj column writers - power and politicsBy Zachary Toillion

A new whistleblower has come forward roughly two years after Edward Snowden leaked classified information about wide scale domestic and international spying operations carried out by the NSA. This new leaker whose identity who is still unknown leaked documents pertaining to America’s drone program, which has come under increased scrutiny over massive civilian casualties.

The US drone program has been in operation since 2001. These unmanned aircrafts have been deployed to Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan’s border, Iraq, and now Syria. The drones are used to minimize the risk of American casualties, but this has not been without a tremendous cost. The drone strikes predominantly target individuals deemed valuable to the operations of overseas terror groups. Although it is usually one or a small handful of individuals, the amount of blood spilled is usually much higher than a targeted assassination. Part of the leaked documents contain information that indicates roughly 90 percent of the casualties from targeted drone strikes have been innocent civilians.

The second leaker does not come as a surprise. In the award winning film Citizenfour, journalist Glenn Greenwald (the journalist who broke the mass surveillance leaks) is seen talking to Mr. Snowden about another leaker who had contacted Greenwald’s co-worker author Jeremy Scahill. In the film, a chain of command is seen for the authorization of drone strikes. The final arbiter of who decides whether or not to authorize a drone strike is seen to be the Office of the President. Last year the FBI identified an individual said to have been a second leaker and obtained warrants to search their house. It is unclear who the leaker is, or even if the FBI had identified the correct person.

The disclosures came on the heels of President Obama’s decision to keep nearly 6,000 troops in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.


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