TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Justice Department ordered to turn over drone memo to New York Times

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Reuters
Monday, April 21, 2014, 8:27 p.m.
 

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court ordered the Department of Justice to turn over key portions of a memorandum justifying the government's targeted killing of people linked to terrorism, including Americans.

In a case pitting executive power against the public's right to know what its government does, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling preserving the secrecy of the legal rationale for the killings, such as the death of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

Ruling for The New York Times, a unanimous three-judge panel said the government waived its right to secrecy by making repeated public statements justifying targeted killings.

They included a Justice Department “white paper,” as well as speeches or statements by officials such as Attorney General Eric Holder and former Obama administration counterterrorism adviser John Brennan endorsing the practice.

The Times and two reporters, Charlie Savage and Scott Shane, sought the memorandum under the federal Freedom of Information Act, saying it authorized the targeting of al-Awlaki, a cleric who joined al-Qaida's Yemen affiliate and directed many attacks.

“Whatever protection the legal analysis might once have had has been lost by virtue of public statements of public officials at the highest levels and official disclosure of the DOJ White Paper,” Circuit Judge Jon Newman wrote for the appeals court panel in New York.

He said it was no longer logical or plausible to argue that disclosing the legal analysis could jeopardize military plans, intelligence activities or foreign relations.

The court redacted a portion of the memorandum on intelligence gathering, as well as part of its own decision. It is unclear when the memorandum or the full 2nd Circuit decision might be made public, or whether the government will appeal.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Clintons hauled in $139M in past 8 years
  2. Baltimore slayings climb to level unseen in decades
  3. Dusty Atlantic Ocean thwarts tropical storms
  4. Planned Parenthood recordings release halted by judge
  5. Amid 4-year drought, fears rise of trees dying, falling in California
  6. Suspect in South Carolina church shooting wants to plead guilty to hate crimes, attorney says
  7. Fires’ fury unabated in California
  8. Analysts expect French laboratory will be able to provide details from examination of jet part
  9. Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
  10. Despite U.S. dollars and bombs, effort failing to squash ISIS
  11. Hope dims for Fla. teens lost at sea