‘I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of what’s happened’, Jeremy Scahill tells the Bureau (Photo: Civic Bakery)
Journalist and filmmaker Jeremy Scahill says that handing control of CIA drone operations to the military could lead to ‘very serious abuses’, in Drone News, the Bureau’s new drones podcast.
Scahill met the Bureau’s Alice K Ross when he was in London promoting his new film Dirty Wars, which follows Scahill through the shadowy conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia as he tracks the expansion of US covert lethal actions under President Obama.
Obama officials and the president himself have indicated that drone operations are to be transferred out of CIA command and into the Department of Defense, as part of moves to increase transparency around drone strikes.
But Scahill believes the move is unlikely to lead to significant improvements. ‘In some ways it could make it worse, if you look at the way US military forces have circumvented any form of effective congressional oversight. The door is wide open for very serious abuses and I think it has the potential to enable more of these strikes to take place.’
Scahill praised the Bureau’s ‘incredible work’ in tracking covert drone strikes but added that much remains unknown. ‘I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of what’s happened because no one has access where much of this is taking place. We have no idea the scope of this – I think we only understand a tiny fraction of it.’
The podcast also includes news and analysis from the Bureau’s drones team, including Jack Serle’s report on the latest round of the first legal challenge in the English courts to the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan.