WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that revoked an Obama-era policy requiring U.S. intelligence officials to report civilians deaths in drone strikes outside of active war zones.
President Barack Obama put the policy into place in 2016 as part of an effort to be more transparent about drone strikes after he had dramatically increased their use against Islamist militants.
Trump’s rescinding of the policy was done with little fanfare. The White House released the text of the executive order that he had signed.
“This action eliminates superfluous reporting requirements, requirements that do not improve government transparency, but rather distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission,” said an administration official.
The Obama policy had required the U.S. director of national intelligence to release by May 1 each year an unclassified summary of the number of strikes undertaken by the United States against militant targets outside areas of active hostilities.
“The United States government is fully committed to complying with its obligations under the law of armed conflict, minimizing, to the greatest extent possible, civilian casualties, and acknowledging responsibility when they unfortunately occur during military operations,” the administration official said.