The Obama administration is preparing to announce as early as next week that it believes around 100 civilians have died in nearly 500 U.S. drone strikes since 2009, U.S. officials tell NBC News.
That is a far lower estimate than those of the three major independent groups that seek to track the secret operations in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. The highest estimate among those groups puts civilian casualties from drones at over 1,000.
The disclosure, which is expected to cite an estimated range of civilian deaths lower and higher than 100, represents the latest attempt by the president to fulfill his promises to be more transparent about the controversial secret killing program he ramped up when he took office. Despite those vows, officials continue to release very little information about the targets and circumstances of each lethal strike.