White House: Drone strikes being subject to ‘highest possible standard’

The president’s new guidelines also stated that strikes would only be used when there was a “near certainty that civilians won't be injured.”

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Blinken said that the directive on civilians “applied the highest possible standard, which is near certainty.”

“But there can't be certainty. We can't get to that,” he said Friday.

Blinken noted that there are different estimates about how many civilians have been killed by U.S. drones — the New America Foundation estimates between 258 to 307 civilians have been killed in Pakistan, for instance — but he said that the “bottom line is they have.”

“The question is, what can we do to make sure that, to the greatest extent possible, that doesn't happen?” he said. “And that's what we've codified. Those are the measures we have put in place.”