Associated Press reported on the conflicting reports of suspected al-Qaeda leader Badruddin Haqqani's death:
The son of the founder of the powerful Haqqani network was been killed in an airstrike in Pakistan, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said Sunday, providing the first public confirmation of rumors that have been swirling for days about the key member of a militant group the U.S. considers one of the most dangerous in the region.
The Taliban rejected reports of Badruddin Haqqani’s death, however, saying that he was alive and well in Afghanistan.
The US has refused to comment on the reports that Haqqani was killing in an "airstrike" – read "drone strike" – in Pakistan. Ironic, considering U.S. officials had plenty to say when a US citizen (Anwar Al-Awlaki) and then his innocent American son were killed in drone strikes in Pakistan.
Now, even though it appears that - unlike al-Awlaki's son, who was by all reports innocent of terrorist activity - Badruddin Haqqani, son of terrorist network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, was actually an operational leader in the terrorist network.
Badruddin is considered a vital part of the Haqqani structure and is believed to have played an active role in kidnappings, extortion and high-profile operations in Afghanistan.
The US drone program has international relations consequences beyond even the dire constitutional consequences of killing Americans without a shred of due process, but the American public is relegated to conflicting reports from Afghanistan about the drone program because:
... the US does not comment publicly on its drone program, which is widely reviled by the Pakistani public and has been a source of tension with Islamabad.
More accurately, the government leaks only what it wants to about the drone program, and obscures the rest, leaving the American public at best half-informed about its government's actions.
Despite the assertions that the US does not comment publicly on the drone program, everyone from Attorney General Eric Holder to Counter-terrorism adviser John O. Brennan to the President himself has publicly discussed the drone program.
In March 2012, AG Holder discussed the purported legality of the drone program telling the public,
The American people can be — and deserve to be — assured that actions taken in their defense are consistent with their values and their laws.
Holder's remarks are particularly hypocritical considering the obstructionist posture the Justice Department has taken in FOIA lawsuits to prevent any court oversight of the drone program.
In remarks in The American people can be – and deserve to be – assured that actions taken in their defense are consistent with their values and their laws who the government will target and kill using drone strikes.
In January 2012, Obama himself publicly defended the drone program at an online town hall. NPR has a must-listen piece today on Obama's affinity for the drone program that the U.S. will not comment on.
SULLIVAN: Last fall, one casualty of the U.S.' ramped-up use of drone warfare was a 16-year-old boy, a U.S. citizen named Abdulrahman al-Awlaki [Anwar al-Awlaki's son] as he sat around a campfire in Yemen. It's a story that represents what Tom Junod calls the lethal presidency.
Just last week, Pakistani officials say 18 more people were killed by drones, including possibly a top commander of the Haqqani network.
. . .
JUNOD: And we have no idea why this happened, how this happened, what the standards were. We are kept completely in the dark.
If the government wants to defend the drone program publicly, it should also be obligated to reveal the underlying legal justifications and answer reasonable questions from the press and the media. "Selective transparency" is not transparency.
Jesselyn Radack is National Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.