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New Whistleblower Is Behind Latest Revelations About U.S. Drone Program


Jeremy Scahill says the source believes the public has a right to know how the U.S. government decides to assassinate people

Jeremy Scahill and a number of his colleagues at The Intercept published an eight-part investigation Thursday detailing the inner workings of the U.S. drone program, based on documents provided by a source in the intelligence community who worked on the covert operations.

The latest documents are not part of the cache that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked to journalists in 2013, although Scahill and The Intercept’s other two co-founders — Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras — were heavily involved in covering Snowden’s disclosures of mass surveillance by the U.S. government.

The Intercept’s investigation is called “The Drone Papers.” Scahill wrote that the new source “decided to provide these documents to The Intercept because he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government.”

The latest cache of leaked documents reveals the decision-making process involved in drone strikes in the greatest detail yet, starting with the initial selection of a target and moving up the chain of command to the president, who authorizes the strikes. “The Drone Papers” also provides new details on operations in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan, where the documents indicate that in one five-month period, 90 percent of those killed in drone strikes were not the intended targets. The Intercept’s eight-piece package includes multimedia elements, such as a visual glossary of the terminology of drone warfare.

On Thursday, The Huffington Post published part of The Intercept’s investigation, which is available in full on its website.