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Interactive: How Obama Drone Death Claims Stack Up

Obama administration assertions about the number of civilians killed by U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan have varied significantly over the years. The assertions, which almost always come from unnamed officials, are sometimes contradictory and sometimes imply improbable conclusions. Below we've charted the administration’s assertions about civilian deaths with their corresponding date ranges.| Related: Obama Administration’s Drone Death Figures Don’t Add Up

Mouse over the bars in the timeline or click on the links in the right sidebar for more information.

Drones Strikes per Year.............
1
2
2
4
33
53
118
70
24
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
Claimed Civilian Deaths....................

Mouse over the bars in the timeline to see the official claim, and click on the links within each bar to go to the source article.

A “senior administration official” told the New York Times that the number of civilians killed under President Obama in Pakistan was in the “single digits.” But “U.S. officials” told McClatchy that 30 Pakistani civilians were killed by drones in just the 12-month period between August 2009 and August 2010.

Unnamed officials asserted that just over 20 civilians were killed between January 2009 and August 2011, and that 50 civilians had been killed over the length of the entire drone program. Taken together, those assertions imply that more civilians were killed under President Bush, when the program was still in its infancy, than under Obama, who has greatly increased the number of drone attacks.

These three assertions are mathematically possible, but they imply that there were zero or almost zero civilians killed between the beginning of 2008 and August 2009, and again between August 2010 and July 2011. There were over 180 strikes in those two periods.

Sources: The figures on number of drone strikes per year are from a New America Foundation tally.