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The Intercept publishes secret military documents on drone killings

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Drone Secrets: The InterceptSecret military documents published Thursday by The Intercept detail the extent to which the White House uses its drone program, citing an unnamed source who said he wanted to make the information available so that the public will know how the decisions to make the strikes happen.

Among the findings of the investigation: The Pentagon's Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance unit circulated a paper in 2013 that found that the drone strikes, or targeted killings, often rely upon shaky intelligence and when executed, often compromise further gathering of intelligence.

“This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source said, according to the report.

The "baseball cards" to which the source is referring, according to the report, are detailed profiles of each potential target. According to one ISR slide from February 2013 shared by the source, it took on average 58 days for President Barack Obama to sign off on striking a target, giving 60 days for the strike to be carried out.

“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the source told The Intercept. When “a drone strike kills more than one person, there is no guarantee that those persons deserved their fate. … So it’s a phenomenal gamble.”

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