Obama Administration has finally released the operational guidelines for the controversial U.S. Drone Program. The 18 page document, written in 2013 provides chilling details on how the targets are selected and executed via drone attacks, without the oversight of any legal or judicial authorities. The public release of the document happened as a response to open records lawsuit filed by American Civil Liberties Union. The document released by White House is available here.

“While this policy guidance appears to set an important precedent for protecting civilians and limiting killings, it is impossible to assess whether and how it’s been followed. The Obama Administration has still never provided basic information needed to assess the drone program, including the names and identities of people killed in the strikes” said Naureen Shah, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Security & Human Rights Program.

U.S. Drone program has killed as many as 2,581 people without judicial oversight. According to White House, the people killed were either terrorists or involved in assisting terrorist activities. In order to substantiate that claim, the US government has not released the details of the people killed in the drone attacks. The U.S. Drone program is active in regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. As per several political analysts, the U.S. Drone has immensely helped the terrorist organisations to recruit more people.

As per the Drone Program document, the targets are nominated based on the following criteria:

  1. Whether the Deputies can conclude with confidence that the nominated individual qualifies under the policy standard in Section 3.A for lethal action, taking into account credible in formation that may cast doubt on such a conclusion.
  2. Whether the threat posed by the individual to U.S. persons can be minimized through a response short of lethal action.
  3. The implications for the broader regional and international political interests of the United States;
  4. Whether the proposed action would interfere with any intelligence collection or compromise any intelligence sources or methods;
  5. Whether the individual, if captured, would likely result in the collection of valuable intelligence, notwithstanding an assessment that capture is not currently feasible: and
  6. <Not disclosed by US Government>.

US government has not released the names of the individuals killed in the Drone strikes, even though after every drone strike, the document suggests that report needs to be filed with the following data:

  1. A description of the operation;
  2. A summary of the basis for determining that the operation satisfied the applicable criteria contained in the approved operational plan;
  3. An assessment of whether the operation achieved its objective;
  4. An assessment of the number of combatants killed or wounded;
  5. A description of any col lateral damage that resulted from the operation;
  6. A description of all munitions and assets used as part of the operation; and
  7. <Not disclosed by US Government>.