World -- October 22, 2013 at 4:05 PM ET
White House responds to reports that U.S. drone strikes violated human rights law
Updated 3:45 p.m. | White House spokesman Jay Carney responded to two reports released by human rights groups Tuesday morning that questioned the legality of the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.
"To the extent these reports claim that the U.S. has acted contrary to international law, we would strongly disagree," he said.
"The administration has repeatedly emphasized the extraordinary care that we take to make sure counter-terrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable law," Carney added.
Original post: 11:20 a.m. Amnesty International released a report Tuesday that questions the legality of targeted killings by U.S. drones in Pakistan under international human rights law.
The group's evidence includes analysis of field work collected from nine reported strikes between January 2012 and August 2013. Amnesty interviewed 60 people, including survivors of drone strikes, relatives of victims, eyewitnesses, residents of affected areas, members of armed groups and Pakistani government officials in North Waziristan region of Pakistan. These interviews detail the human toll of civilian casualties.
Amnesty International acknowledges that their research is not comprehensive or conclusive because of "U.S. authorities' deliberate policy of refusing to disclose information or even acknowledge responsibility for particular attacks."
The group calls on the U.S. and Pakistani governments to conduct "thorough, impartial and independent investigations" into the killings Amnesty documents in the report.
Joshua Foust, former fellow at the American Security Project, told Time magazine that reports like Amnesty International's latest "don't add substantively to knowledge of the drone program nor do they alter the standard line about needing more transparency and access to medical help." Without political incentive to declassify more of the drone program, Foust said American policy or transparency on the use of drones overseas is unlikely to change.