Senator Lindsey Graham is the first to claim a specific death toll from drones.
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, disclosed the figure during a question and answer session on Tuesday with the Rotary Club of Easley in his home state of South Carolina. His remarks were first reported by the Easley Patch.
“We’ve killed 4,700,” the lawmaker said. “Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of al-Qaida.”
Drone strikes, President Barack Obama’s signature tactic for killing suspected al-Qaida and other extremist fighters, have been “very effective,” said Graham. “It’s a weapon that needs to be used.”