On April 23, President Obama addressed the nation to reveal a tragic mistake that killed two humanitarian aid workers, American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto. In his remarks, President Obama stated that “Based on information and intelligence we have obtained, we believe that a U.S. counterterrorism operation targeting an al Qaeda compound in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region accidently killed Warren and Giovanni this past January.” The White House press secretary also announced that two additional Americans, Ahmed Farouq and Adam Gadahn, were killed via U.S. counterterrorism operations “in the same region.” Farouq was killed in the same strike that killed Weinstein and Lo Porto and Gadahn was killed in a separate operation. Both Farouq and Gadhan were known as members of al Qaeda, but had not been specifically targeted in either of the strikes.
While these announcements represent an uncommon acknowledgement of casualties from drones, notably absent from these remarks was the acknowledgement that Weinstein and Lo Porto were indeed killed by a drone strike, the specific location of the strike, and which government agency was responsible for conducting the strike. Even in a moment of apparent transparency, the U.S. government was opaque.
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