Obama to reportedly release legal memos on drone assassination program to intelligence committees
By End the Lie
In the wake of the leak of an unclassified Justice Department white paper outlining the supposed legal justification for the killing of Americans without charge or trial, President Barack Obama is reportedly going to turn over the classified legal memos justifying the so-called targeted killing program.
The move is reportedly in response to the demands from Congress, including democrats, although those demands have been made for quite a while now.
According to the New York Times, the legal memos will be released to both intelligence committees.
According to Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, “While select members of Congress will have access to the document, there are no plans to make it public.”
Interestingly, an anonymous Obama administration official told CNN, “Today, as part of the President’s ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters, the president directed the department of justice to provide the congressional intelligence committees access to classified office of legal counsel advice related to the subject of the department of justice white paper.”
In reality, Obama apparently does not care all that much about consulting with Congress on national security matters given the secret interpretation of critical laws and the secrecy surrounding spy court rulings.
CNN adds, “The president, the administration official said, is turning over the information because he believes the scrutiny and debate is healthy.”
This is perhaps the most absurd claim in the entirety of the report. The reality is that the Obama administration rejects scrutiny and debate when the program is actually challenged in court.
When the Obama administration was sued over the classified Office of Legal Counsel memo outlining the supposed legal justification for the targeted killing program, they refused to either confirm or deny that the memo even existed.
Most recently, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration never has to explain the legal justification for the program, all while claiming that indeed there is a solid legal basis for killing U.S. citizens without charge or trial.
Reilly notes that while the release will not be public, “the administration’s acknowledgement that the OLC memo does in fact exist could help the cause of reporters and civil liberties advocates who are suing to obtain the full memorandum under the Freedom of Information Act.”
Clearly when it comes to actually justifying the program in court, scrutiny and debate is the last thing the Obama administration is interested in, although they’re happy to claim the strikes are “legal,” “ethical” and “wise.”
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