Officials: US Report Will Say Drones Have Only Killed 100 Civilians

Human rights groups praised the move, but remain skeptical about the numbers

The Obama administration is poised to announce it believes around 100 civilians have died in nearly 500 U.S. drone strikes since 2009, U.S. officials tell NBC News.

The number is a far lower estimate than those of three independent human rights groups that seek to track the secret operations in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, which puts civilian casualties from drones at over 1,000.

In the latest attempt by the president to fulfill his promises to be more transparent about the controversial secret killing program, Obama is also expected to issue an executive order requiring annual disclosures of civilians killed in counter-terrorism strikes, officials say, a development first reported by the Daily Beast.

The disparity in the civilian casualty numbers, however, is likely to fuel the debate about whether U.S. officials can be trusted to grade their own work based on evidence no one else can see.

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