Monday, June 25, 2012

Drone Documents: Why The Government Won’t Release Them .

The covert U.S. effort to strike terrorist leaders using drones has moved further out of the shadows this year — targeted killing has been mentioned [1] by President Obama and defended in speeches by Attorney General Eric Holder [2] and Obama counterterrorism adviser John Brennan [3]. The White House recently declassified [4] the fact that it is conducting military operations in Yemen and Somalia.
But for all the talk, the administration says it hasn't officially confirmed particular strikes or the CIA's involvement.
Over the past year, the American Civil Liberties Union and reporters at The New York Times have filed several requests under the Freedom of Information Act seeking information about the CIA's drone program and the legal justification for attacks that killed terrorists and U.S. citizens [5]. The government answered with a Glomar response [6] — neither verifying nor denying that it has such documents.
So both the Times and the ACLU sued, claiming that there is widespread acknowledgement by government officials of drones and targeted killing, as well as the CIA's involvement.
Last week, the Justice Department submitted a motion [7] in a federal court in New York seeking to dismiss the lawsuits. The government's argument, it turns out, mostly reiterates [8] its Glomar response. more