According to a secret CIA report published by WikiLeaks and reported on by Australian newspapers, the agency admits U.S. drone strikes and other "targeted killings" can be counterproductive and strengthen the very extremist groups they claim to be combatting. (Image: flickr / cc / AK Rockefeller)
According to an exclusive report published in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday, a secret CIA document which was obtained by Wikileaks and shared with the newspaper shows how an internal review conducted by the agency found that its clandestine drone and assassination program is "counter-productive" and is likely strengthening the very "extremist groups" it is advertised to destroy.
In his story appearing in both the SMH and its affiliate The Age, journalist Philip Dorling reports:
According to a leaked document by the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, "high value targeting" (HVT) involving air strikes and special forces operations against insurgent leaders can be effective, but can also havenegative effects including increasing violence and greater popular support for extremist groups.
The leaked document is classified secret and "NoForn" (meaning not to be distributed to non-US nationals) and reviews attacks by the United States and other countries engaged in counter-insurgency operations over the past 50 years.
The CIA assessment is the first leaked secret intelligence document published by WikiLeaks since 2011. Led by Australian publisher Julian Assange, the anti-secrecy group says the CIA assessment is the first in what will be a new series of leaked documents relating to the US agency.
The 2009 CIA study lends support to critics of US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen by warning that such operations "may increase support for the insurgents, particularly if these strikes enhance insurgent leaders' lore, if non-combatants are killed in the attacks, if legitimate or semi-legitimate politicians aligned with the insurgents are targeted, or if the government is already seen as overly repressive or violent".
Drone strikes have been a key element of the Obama administration's attacks on Islamic extremist terrorist and insurgent groups in the Middle East and south Asia. Australia has directly supported these strikes through the electronic espionage operations of the US-Australian Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
Though the source document has not yet posted to the Wikileaks' website, a series of tweets by the group were teasing some kind of pending release about the "three letter agency," including: