A federal appeals court on Monday ordered the Obama administration to release a redacted version of secret memos justifying the use of drones to kill American citizens abroad.
The decision was hailed as a victory by civil liberties and media organizations who had sought access to the secret papers. The administration, under public pressure, has vowed to make changes to its lethal drone program but so far has resisted efforts to release documents on the legal justification for using drones to kill American citizens suspected of terrorism overseas.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the administration must provide the redacted documents, because President Obama and senior government officials have commented on the subject.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who has also sought the legal rationale, called the ruling on Monday a “positive development.”
“The targeted killing of American citizens by their own government should be one of the most fundamental reasons to ensure checks and balances are in place,” Grassley said in a statement. “Up to this point, the Obama administration has been hiding behind a Cliff’s Notes version of the justification that gave no legal analysis for the killings.”
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