Lindsey Graham Spills the Beans on Drone Strike Numbers
February 22, 2013 • 11:58AM

Perhaps inadvertently, Senator Lindsey Graham, a fervent supporter of drone warfare, essentially confirmed the high-level estimates of drone "kills" by the United States (presumably over both the Bush and Obama presidencies) during a speech at the Easley Rotary Club Feb. 19. Graham put the figure of kills at 4700.

In a column posted on, journalist John Glaser points out that Graham's specificity is notable in two respects. First, it effectively confirms estimates put out by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which gave the figures of killed in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia at somewhere between 3000 and 4756. Up until now, "mainstream" media have shied away from this high figure, he says, but Graham, as a longtime member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is obviously "in the know."

Second, Glaser contrasts Graham's specificity with the total lack of candor on the part of the administration, and asks if it might have been a "slip."

Glaser notes as well that the recent Stanford/NYU study of drone war estimated that the number of "high-level" targets killed as a percentage of total casualties from drone strikes is estimated to be about 2%