Justice Department Will Release Drone Strike Memo

drone aircraft

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced May 20 that it will not appeal a court decision ordering the disclosure of the legal analysis that justifies the government's drone-based targeted killing program. The Center for Effective Government, along with other transparency organizations, had called on DOJ to let the decision stand and release the records. The case, New York Times Co. v. Department of Justice, was filed after the agency rejected a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the document.

We’re glad that the public will soon be able to see this important memo, which forms part of the legal basis for the government's targeted killing program. In a democracy, citizens have a right to know how their government is interpreting and applying the law. The urgency of exerting that right is particularly pressing when it comes to the lethal drone program.

As Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said on the Senate floor on May 21, “The past few years have shown that when the public is allowed to see and debate how our government interprets the law, it has led to meaningful changes in terms of ensuring that there are additional protections for privacy and civil liberties – without sacrificing our country’s security in a dangerous time.”

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