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Nominee for CIA chief says casualties from drone strikes should be public

Published on Feb 16, 2013 10:39 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama's pick for CIA director, Mr John Brennan, promised senators who will vote on his nomination more openness about US counter-terrorism programmes, saying the closely guarded number of civilian casualties from drone strikes should be made public, according to his written responses to questions released on Friday.

Mr Brennan was questioned sharply by Democrats and Republicans alike during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination last week.

Along with harsh interrogation techniques, Mr Brennan was questioned about drone strikes against terrorism suspects in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere. These strikes have increased under Mr Obama and included the killing in Yemen of a US-born cleric suspected of ties to Al-Qaeda and his US-born son.

The US government, without releasing numbers, has sought to portray civilian deaths from these strikes as minimal. But other organisations which collect data on these attacks put the number of civilians killed in the hundreds.

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