US Gives Family of Italian Aid Worker Slain in Drone Strike $1.2 Million

US: Cash a 'Donation," Not a Payment for Wrongdoing

In January of 2015, a US drone strike against northern Pakistan killed 37-year-old Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto, along with American hostage Warren Weinstein. President Obama termed the killings “a mistake” and said he “takes fully responsibility” for them.

The US is taking a lot less “fully responsibility” these days, but has paid Lo Porto’s family $1.2 million as a “donation” in his memory. Officials were, however, very quick to insist this was not a payment for wrongdoing or an admission of culpability, even though they very clearly killed him.

Lo Porto and Weinstein were being held hostage by al-Qaeda at the time, having been kidnapped back in 2012. The compound they were held in was attacked by US drones, citing intelligence that there were no hostages at the targeted site.

The White House confirmed over a year ago that they intended to make “compensation” payments over the killings, and while this appears indeed to be that, officials are desperate to try to rebrand the payments as something other than compensation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.