Alka Pradhan, an attorney with the international human rights group Reprieve who represents other civilian victims of drone attacks, noted in a statement that Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto “are far from the first innocents to die by our drones, and in no other case has the US apologized for its mistake.” 

“The White House is setting a dangerous precedent – that if you are Western and hit by accident we’ll say we are sorry, but we’ll put up a stone wall of silence if you are a Yemeni or Pakistani civilian who lost an innocent loved one,” Pradhan continued. “Inconsistencies like this are seen around the world as hypocritical, and do the United States’ image real harm.”

Critics of the drone program said that the deaths highlight the dangerous fact that drone strikes often rely on faulty intelligence.

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“In each of the operations acknowledged today, the U.S. quite literally didn’t know who it was killing,” Jameel Jaffer, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said following the announcement.

Jaffer said that these incidents as well as other strikes in which civilians were killed “make clear that there is a significant gap between the relatively stringent standards the government says it’s using and the standards that are actually being used.”

Calling for increased transparency about U.S. drone operations, Jaffer adds that it would “be easier to assess this gap if the government routinely released information about individual drone strikes.”

President Obama’s full press statement is available below.

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