Trump Scraps Obama Order to Report Intel-linked Civilian Deaths
President Donald Trump has tossed out an Obama executive order requiring intelligence agencies to report civilian deaths caused by operations in non-combat areas.
Former President Barack Obama's 2016 order mostly applied to civilian casualties caused by drone attacks on terrorists in countries where the U.S. is not directly involved in a war.
The White House said at the time that greater transparency is "the right thing to do" and the best way to legitimize counterterrorism operations to U.S. allies.
Trump's executive order revoking the Obama policy says the unclassified reporting of civilian casualties may include what he calls a "classified annex," which the Pentagon could consider a threat to national security.
A White House spokesman said Wednesday that Trump's order eliminates "superfluous" reporting that does not "improve transparency but rather distorts our intelligence professionals from their primary mission."
But a security expert at the Federation of American Scientists, Steven Aftergood, says the White House is just being "coy."
"They're not saying, 'We don't want to report CIA operation casualties,' but that's what they're doing," he said.
Amnesty International calls the Trump order "shameful," and says it lets the administration shroud itself in "even more secrecy … and in complete disregard of fundamental human rights."
VOA's Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.