House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on Monday said public reports about civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes are politically motivated and "wildly wrong."
"I think that you would be shocked and stunned how wrong those public reports are about civilian casualties," Rogers said on the House floor.
"Those reports are wrong. They are not just wrong, they are wildly wrong. And I do believe that people use those reports for their own political purposes outside of the country to try to put pressure on the United States," Rogers said.
Rogers was responding to a question from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who argued that the Intelligence Committee needs to spend more time reviewing the impact of U.S. drone strikes abroad.
"Look at the consequences of civilian casualties ... raise questions about the information that's being given to you," Kucinich said.
Various reports have placed the number of civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes in the thousands, and some have said roughly 50 civilians are killed for every one terrorist taken out in a strike.
After being told by Rogers that public reports are wrong, Kucinich said he would forward on the reports he gets about civilian casualties for his review. Rogers indicated he would receive these reports, but stressed again that most public tallies are inaccurate.
"Every one of these is reviewed, and rest assured, the public reports about civilian casualties are not just a little bit wrong, they are wildly wrong," he said.
The ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), said he agreed with Rogers's assessment, but also did not reveal anything more specific.
"Unfortunately, there are some casualties, very minor," he said. "What you read in the media is usually not what the facts are."
The issue of civilian casualties came up in a debate over the 2013 Intelligence Authorization Act, S. 3454. That bill authorizes intelligence activities across a range of agencies, including the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, Defense Department and others.
Members are expected to hold a roll-call vote on this bill later in the day.