Drone strikes in Pakistan

Promoting Journalism: Covert Drone War’ investigation covered internationally

Reaper MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Air System - Flickr/Defence Images

The Bureau’s investigation into the CIA’s use of drones in Pakistan has received international attention and pickup.

The report was covered by over 30 major news organisations, including the New York Times, PBS, the Daily TelegraphCNN and Channel 4 News, in at least nine different countries, and was picked up by more than 200 other internet publications across the world.

The investigation was also the front page print and online lead in Pakistan’s respected Express Tribune newspaper for two days running, as part of a Bureau partnership with the Express Media Group. The story was widely carried by other media in Pakistan in both English and Urdu.

The Bureau’s lead reporter on the drone story, Chris Woods, was also interviewed by ABC News US, National Public Radio, Democracy Now!, Radio Australia, ABC News Australia, Russia Today, Antiwar Radio and syndicated NPR talk-radio show The Takeaway on the findings of the investigation.

The report prompted a front page splash and editorial in leading US newspaper, the New York Times. In the editorial titled The CIA and Drone Strikes, the New York Times described the conflicting accounts of civilian deaths as being akin to ‘parallel realities’, and urged the CIA ‘to be honest about what it can do and about its failings as well’.

Our report found that the drone campaign has killed a reported minimum of over 2,300 people since 2004, including 169 children, despite CIA claims that for the past year no non-combatants had died in targeted killings. The number of drone attacks has vastly escalated under President Obama, rising to approximately one drone attack every four days.

Our findings prompted the US officially to issue its own estimated numbers of civilian deaths, which it set at 2,050. However, the US continues to assert that it has seen no evidence to suggest that any non-combatants have been killed by drones since May 2010.

The Bureau’s Chris Woods said: ‘The international pickup shows just how important this issue is. The story has finally caught the attention of the mainstream US media, and continues to resonate.’

The product of months of research, the investigation included detailed textual summaries and reports for every single reported drone attack, as well as various images, maps, timelines and searchable databases. For the full investigation, click here.

The Bureau is continuing its investigation.