>> The Obama Administration on Friday releasing a report on civilians mistakenly killed by US airstrikes outside of war zones. The US said up to 116 civilians were killed by manned and unmanned airstrikes, a major disclosure likely to inflame the debate over targeted killings and the use of drones.
Reuters National Security correspondent Jonathan Landay.>> The administration have been under pressure for sometime to release data on the number of what's called targeted killings that have been carried out in areas where there aren't active hostilities going on, and this is released under an executive order that President Obama signed to that effect.
>> The total of these by the US Director of National Intelligence is far lower than estimates by non-governmental organizations, which range from 200 to 900 possible non-combating deaths. Ground Advocates argued that strikes are an essential part of reducing the ability of militant groups to plot attacks against the US.
The government has stressed that it goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, but critics of the targeted killing program question whether the strikes create more militants than they destroy. Friday's report could be a first step in changing the conversation around drone use.>> The administration has been shifting responsibilities for drone strikes from the CIA to the US military.
By giving it to the military, they can be much more open about the strikes that are carried out, because those that are carried out by the CIA are classified. The American people will hear more, probably, about drone strikes than they have in the past, as well as the government's estimates as to the casualty numbers.
>> The Obama administration acknowledged inherent limitations in its ability to collect data in dangerous target areas, but strongly defended its estimates.