“To the greatest extent possible, more information on US counterterrorism operations should be made public,” Feinstein said. “I believe this should include an annual report on the number of deaths — both combatant and civilian — from US strikes.”
Feinstein’s statement came in response to the news that two hostages were accidentally killed in a US drone strike against an al-Qaeda compound in the Afghan-Pakistan border region in January 2015.
On Wednesday, the White House revealed a CIA counterterrorism operation accidentally killed US contractor Warren Weinstein, who had been held by al-Qaeda since 2011, and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto, who had been held by al-Qaeda since 2012.
Feinstein argued that as a result of the hostages’ deaths the United States should review all procedures and safeguards to avoid civilian casualties.
Statistics on the number of civilians killed in US drone strikes vary according to sources that track news reports and investigations. The numbers range from 150 to 650 total civilian casualties in Pakistan and 25 to more than 100 in Yemen.
In February 2013, Feinstein claimed that civilian casualties as a result of US drone strikes were in the single digits, but the claim was widely debunked by experts.
The US intelligence community keeps the number of combat and civilian casualties secret.