Washington CNN  — 

US intelligence officials will no longer be required to publicly disclose the number of civilians killed in airstrikes against terrorist targets “outside areas of active hostilities” due to a new executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

However, given the secrecy surrounding counterterrorism strikes conducted by US intelligence agencies, it is unclear whether Wednesday’s announcement will result in less transparency about how the US conducts such operations.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council declined to clarify when asked for more information by CNN.

Specifically, Trump’s order lifts an Obama-era mandate for intelligence professionals to provide an “unclassified summary of the number of strikes” as well as “assessments of combatant and non combatant deaths resulting from those strikes” each year.

The most recent published report, which was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in January of 2017, said “US government” conducted 54 strikes outside of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan during 2016, resulting in one civilian death.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence referred questions about the change to the White House.

The secretary of defense is legally required to provide a similar report and will continue to do so despite Wednesday’s executive order as that requirement falls under congressional oversight as outlined in the National Defense Authorization Act.

However, that report pertains solely to US military operations in places like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya.

CNN has previously reported on at least one CIA strike that has taken place during the Trump administration, which occurred in Yemen, killing a senior al Qaeda bomb maker.

The White House said Wednesday’s executive order was not an effort to decrease transparency about casualties resulting from US strikes.

“The United States Government is fully committed to complying with its obligations under the law of armed conflict, minimizing, to the greatest extent possible, civilian causalities, and acknowledging responsibility when they unfortunately occur during military operations,” a National Security Council spokesperson told CNN in a statement.

Instead, the administration argues that the measure is intended to streamline the process by eliminating “superfluous reporting requirements.”

“This action eliminates superfluous reporting requirements, requirements that do not improve government transparency, but rather distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission,” the spokesman added, noting that the report by the Pentagon, which will still be submitted to Congress, “has a broader geographic scope” in covering “civilian casualties resulting from US military air and ground operations worldwide.”

“The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Department of Defense to submit a report on civilian casualties caused as a result of US military operations,” Pentagon spokesperson Cmdr. Candice Tresch told CNN.

The Pentagon released its fiscal year 2017 report on June 1, 2018, and plans to release the 2018 report on May 1.

CNN’s Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.