CIA Must End Silence on Drone Targeted Killings, Appeals Court Says
2013 03 17

From: wired.com

Armed MQ-9 Reaper drones like this one are used by both the U.S. military and the CIA.


A federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit seeking Central Intelligence Agency documents outlining its drone targeted killing program, ruling Friday that the agency’s refusal to acknowledge the program and whether records exist about it contradicts public statements by top government officials, including President Barack Obama.

The case concerns a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (.pdf) brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in which the CIA has been refusing to confirm or deny the covert military use of drones to kill suspected terrorists overseas, despite Obama’s and even a former CIA director’s admission of the agency’s targeted killing program.

“The President of the United States has himself publicly acknowledged that the United States uses drone strikes against al-Qaeda,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled.

The development came a week after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) undertook a 13-hour, old-fashioned filibuster to highlight his disdain for the drone-targeted killing program while tentatively blocking the confirmation of John Brennan as the CIA’s director.

The use of drones to shoot missiles from afar at vehicles and buildings that the nation’s intelligence agencies believe are being used by suspected terrorists began under the Bush administration and was widened by Obama to allow the targeting of American citizens. Drone strikes by the Pentagon and the CIA have sparked backlashes from foreign governments and populations, as the strikes often kill civilians, including women and children.

With Friday’s decision, the ACLU’s case returns to a federal court, where a district judge had sided with the agency’s so-called “Glomar” response which allowed the CIA to neither confirm nor deny the existence of responsive records because doing so would expose national security secrets. The FOIA litigation dates to 2010, when the ACLU sued in federal court seeking records concerning the legal basis for carrying out targeted drone killings; any restrictions on those who may be targeted; any civilian casualties; any geographic limits on the program; the number of targeted killings that the agency has carried out; and the training, supervision, oversight, or discipline of drone operators.

Last year, the same appeals court upheld the National Security Agency’s decision, citing Glomar, to withhold from the public documents confirming or denying any relationship it has with Google concerning encryption or cybersecurity.

The ACLU hailed Friday’s decision, and estimated that U.S. drone strikes have killed some 4,000 people across the globe.

“We hope that this ruling will encourage the Obama administration to fundamentally reconsider the secrecy surrounding the targeted killing program,” said Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director. “The program has already been responsible for the deaths of more than 4,000 people in an unknown number of countries. The public surely has a right to know who the government is killing, and why, and in which countries, and on whose orders. The Obama administration, which has repeatedly acknowledged the importance of government transparency, should give the public the information it needs in order to fully evaluate the wisdom and lawfulness of the government’s policies.”

Still, Friday’s decision does not mean the ACLU would win the release of documents. The CIA is likely to now acknowledge documents on the program, but decline to divulge them on an assertion they threaten to expose classified material.

In 2011, Obama acknowledged particular CIA drone strikes at a Joint Chiefs of Staff ceremony. Within hours of the CIA drone strike that killed U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan in Yemen, the president publicly lauded the move as “another significant milestone in the broader effort to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates” and then acknowledged the U.S. government’s role, stating that “this success is a tribute to our intelligence community.”

Source: wired.com



Related Articles
Drones Will Target Conservative Americans
British terror suspects quietly stripped of citizenship… then killed by drones (ZERO due process)
Charlottesville, Va Becomes First US City To Ban Government Spy Drones
PBS’ “Rise of the Drones” Documentary Really An Infomercial for Military Industrial Complex


Latest News from our Front Page

Whistleblower: Margaret Thatcher knew all about underage sex ring
2014 07 29
Margaret Thatcher was told about alleged sex parties with under-age boys held by one of her closest aides claims her former personal bodyguard. Barry Strevens, who worked as the prime minister’s personal bodyguard, said that he passed on allegations about her confidant Sir Peter Morrison. The former senior police officer said that Lady Thatcher appointed Sir Peter deputy party chairman of the ...
The Absurd, Bureaucratic Hell That Is the American Police State
2014 07 29
“The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet ...
Australian Government Pushing ‘Internet Tax’ To Pay For NSA Style Spying
2014 07 29
Forcing private companies to become mass surveillance hubs The Australian government is pushing to implement a ”surveillance tax” on the people of the country in order to pay for a mandate that would see communications companies retaining data on customers for two years. In a disturbing development that should serve as a warning to Americans, the Australian Attorney-General admitted that the surveillance ...
Japanese leader proposes first-ever ’Robot Olympics’
2014 07 29
Nations of the world will be sending their most talented athletes to Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympic Games – but if Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gets his way, they might also be pitting robots against each other. Abe announced his vision while touring robotics factories in Tokyo and Saitama, which is located just north of the country’s capital. According ...
Israel Student Union Set Up “War Room” to Sell Gaza Massacre on Facebook
2014 07 29
This article was published on July 14, 2014. The death toll in Gaza as of today, July 23, 2014, reaches 678 according to Al-Akhbar. Students at the IDC Herzliya “war room,” seen here in a screenshot, focus on posting propaganda justifying Israel’s attack on Gaza on Facebook. As the death toll from Israel’s savage bombardment of Gaza continues to climb, Israel has ...
More News »