USA Today reports that the Administration will release the President's secret memo authorizing drone assassinations as reported in Report: Justice Dept. to reveal drone memo.
WASHINGTON (AP) — On the eve of a critical Senate vote and under court order, the Obama administration signaled it will publicly reveal a secret memo describing its legal justification for using drones to kill U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism overseas.
Two administration officials told the Associated Press that the Justice Department has decided not to appeal a Court of Appeals ruling requiring disclosure of an edited version of the memo under the Freedom of Information Act. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
The decision to release the documents comes as the Senate is to vote Thursday on advancing President Barack Obama's nomination of the memo's author, Harvard professor and former Justice Department official David Barron, to sit on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, had vowed to fight Barron's confirmation, and some Democratic senators were calling for the memo's public release before a final vote.
Anwar al-Awlaki, an American was killed in Yemen in 2011 after becoming an al-Qaeda leader which some legal scholars and human rights activists allege is illegal without a trail.
5:17 PM PT: < href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2014/05/20/obama-reveal-justification-for-drone-strikes-cit:">US to release memo justifying drone strikes
The decision to release the documents comes a day before the Senate is to vote on advancing President Barack Obama’s nomination of the memo’s author, Harvard professor and former Justice Department official David Barron, to sit on the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had vowed to attempt to block Barron’s confirmation with a filibuster if the documents were not made public. Paul issued a statement Tuesday saying he still opposes Barron’s nomination.
The release could take some time, since the redactions are subject to court approval. And the administration also is insisting that a classified ruling on the case also be redacted to protect information classified for national security, but not the legal reasoning, one of the officials said.
The drone strike that killed al-Awlaki also killed another US citizen, Samir Khan, an Al Qaeda propagandist. Al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was killed the following month in another drone attack.