'Targeted Killing' Memo Frames Senate Confirmation Fight
According to the Associated Press, citing two White House officials speaking on condition of anonymity, the Obama administration will submit to a court order which says it must reveal portions of an internal legal memo it used to justify the extrajudicial killing of Americans overseas.
The pending release of the document—which will be first be vetted and redacted by the White House—follows a protracted legal battle between the Obama administration, defended by the Justice Department, against a joint lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the New York Times, both of whom filed Freedom of Information Act requests to see the legal arguments under which lethal force was authorized against Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric living in Yemen, who was accused but never tried in a court of law of orchestrating terrorist attacks against targets in the U.S.
As part of what has become known as Obama’s “targeted assassination program,” al-Awlaki and another American, Samir Khan, were both killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Days later, al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was killed in a separate strike in the country.
“We hope this report signals a broader shift in the administration’s approach to the official secrecy surrounding its targeted killing program,” said ACLU’s deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer, who argued the FOIA lawsuit before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in response to the news. “The release of this memo will allow the public to better understand the scope of the authority that the government is claiming.”
However, as it remains unclear the level of redaction and what other associated documents fall outside of the disclosure, Jaffer promised that the ACLU “will continue to argue in court for the public release of the other targeted killing memos and related documents.”
According to AP:
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