According to an exclusive report by NBC News the CIA often did not know who it was killing with drone strikes.
The CIA did not always know who it was targeting and killing in drone strikes in Pakistan over a 14-month period, an NBC News review of classified intelligence reports shows.
About one of every four of those killed by drones in Pakistan between Sept. 3, 2010, and Oct. 30, 2011, were classified as “other militants,” the documents detail. The “other militants” label was used when the CIA could not determine the affiliation of those killed, prompting questions about how the agency could conclude they were a threat to U.S. national security.
And by “not determine the affiliation”, read civilians, for example the American citizens killed. While Anwar Al-Awlaki was targeted his son, Samir Khan, and Jude Mohammad were not according to AG Eric Holder – yet were killed with drones all the same.
The uncertainty appears to arise from the use of so-called “signature” strikes to eliminate suspected terrorists — picking targets based in part on their behavior and associates. A former White House official said the U.S. sometimes executes people based on “circumstantial evidence.”…
In so-called “signature” strikes, intelligence officers and drone operators kill suspects based on their patterns of behavior — but without positive identification. With signature strikes, the CIA doesn’t necessarily know who it is killing. One former senior intelligence official said that at the height of the drone program in Pakistan in 2009 and 2010, as many as half of the strikes were classified as signature strikes.
Killing based on patterns of behavior rather than investigation and identification, not surprisingly, leads to a lot of innocent people being killed. So now we are all under surveillance and scrutinized based on algorithms and also can be killed based on algorithms. What could possibly go wrong?