A graphic used in a July 4 CNN story seemingly shows that the number of innocent people killed by drone attacks in Pakistan has steadily dwindled from a high of 163 in 2009 to zero in 2012.
The Atlantic magazine called the chart "bogus" in a report Friday on its website.
In its report, the Atlantic quoted a New York Times story from May that said "Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for accounting civilian casualties... It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants."
In its report, the Atlantic analyzed several news reports of drone attacks in Pakistan. One report related how three militants were killed in one missile strike and 12 more were killed in a second missile strike when they gathered to offer condolences to a brother of a militant commander killed in the first attack. The report went on to say that the remains of those killed in the strikes were unable to be identified.
The Atlantic referenced an administration official quoted in the New York Times report who said of the CIA's accounting: "It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants. ... They count the corpses and they're not really sure who they are."
Source: The Atlantic