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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 12th, 2013
06:57 PM ET

Are drones turning people against the U.S.?

The effect of drone strikes in Pakistan leaves a lot of questions for the Obama administration, casting a shadow of doubt over the notion that deploying drones is the best strategy to reduce threats against the United States.

"It's a fact that anytime you do a military operation, whether it's with a drone or any other means, you're going to potentially sow frustration with the population," said Tommy Vietor, former National Security spokesman for the Obama administration. "You might turn some people against the United States."

"The error is if drones and kinetic operations are all you're doing, then you are not doing counter terrorism correctly, that's got to be coupled with diplomatic work, it's got to be coupled with assistance like the work the [U.S. Agency for International Development] and other State Department employees do," added Vietor.

McClatchy Newspapers obtained several top secret documents covering more than four years of drone strikes in Pakistan. They conclude that despite claims from the White House that drones are being used only to target top al Qaeda leaders and only when there is definite intelligence, the documents "show that drone operators weren't always certain who they were killing despite the administration's guarantees of the accuracy of the CIA's targeting intelligence and its assertions that civilian casualties have been 'exceedingly rare.'"

That is, the U.S. is not always sure of who they are killing with drones.

"It's a horrific consequence of war that innocent people sometimes die," said Vietor. "Having been in the White House, having been in this discussions, the president cares deeply about limiting civilian casualties."

For more of our interview with Tommy Vietor, click on the video above.

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