The Case for Independent OversightOmar S. Bashir
Concerns abound about the secretive nature of U.S. drone programs. Even among those who support the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in counterterrorism efforts, there are frequent calls for more transparency, greater accountability, and better oversight. Seldom, though, have commentators distinguished between these seemingly interchangeable words or described what any of them would look like in practice. In fact, increasing transparency is not the only path to accountability. The United States should instead aim for better oversight, modeling a review process on the United Kingdom's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. Doing so would be consistent with democratic ideals as well as with U.S. foreign policy objectives.
First, imagine that the government opted for full transparency in its drone programs. That would certainly make the government more accountable, with no special oversight system needed. Officials would release all the necessary information for citizens to assess the ethics of the pro