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Saturday, March 09, 2013

AirForceTimes: Drone Airstrike Numbers Recently Scrubbed From Air Force Website

By Susan Duclos

Coinciding with questions from Republican Senator Rand Paul on drones and Obama's authority in using them on American soil against Americans, the Air Force has recently stopped reporting data from remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the American military and have scrubbed their website of previously reported data, according to AirForceTimes.

Last October, Air Force Central Command started tallying weapons releases from RPAs, broken down into monthly updates. At the time, AFCENT spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender said the numbers would be put out every month as part of a service effort to “provide more detailed information on RPA ops in Afghanistan.”

The Air Force maintained that policy for the statistics reports for November, December and January. But the February numbers, released March 7, contained empty space where the box of RPA statistics had previously been.

Additionally, monthly reports hosted on the Air Force website have had the RPA data removed — and recently.

Those files still contained the RPA data as of Feb. 16, according to archived web pages accessed via Metadata included in the new, RPA-less versions of the reports show the files were all created Feb. 22.
 The questionable timing is also mentioned in the article:

The data removal coincided with increased scrutiny on RPA policy caused by President Barack Obama’s nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. Brennan faced opposition in the Senate over the use of RPAs and his defense of their legality in his role as Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

On Feb. 20, two days before the metadata indicates the scrubbed files were created, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sent a letter to Brennan saying that he would filibuster the nomination over concerns about using RPA strikes inside the U.S., a threat he carried out for over 12 hours on March 6 (Brennan was confirmed the next day).

Altering information, scrubbing previously reported data and denials of involvement in the decision to do so by the Defense Department, all bring up questions and fuel complaints about the Obama's administrations claims to transparency.

Drone related

The other questions are being asked in the opinion pages of the New York Times are about the answer the Obama administration was pressured into providing Senator Paul, with mention of how that answer simply brought about more questions.

What, exactly, does the Obama administration mean by “engaged in combat”? The extraordinary secrecy of this White House makes the answer difficult to know. We have some clues, and they are troubling.

 Amusingly enough, the day I wrote about Holder's very terse answer to Paul, I mentioned the very same thing:

Should Senator Paul now followup with a request for an official definition from the Obama administration as to what they consider a "combat situation" on American soil to be?

Inquiring minds want to know.........