Federal agencies must reveal a memorandum that outlines the legal basis for assassinating Anwar al-Awlaki while the U.S. citizen was living Yemen, the 2nd Circuit unanimously ruled today according to Courthouse News.
Anwar al-Awlaki was living in Yemen when the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command bombed him and another U.S. citizen, al-Qaida propagandist Samir Khan, on Sept. 30, 2011. A separate strike killed al-Awlaki’s U.S. citizen son, 16-year-old Abdulrahman, weeks later.
Their families have recently lost a lawsuit to claim compensation as a result of the deaths, so this judgment is considered to be a miniature victory.
“The government can’t pretend that everything about the targeted killing program is a classified secret while senior officials selectively disclose information to paint the program in the most favorable light,” Jameel Jaffer, in charge of the ACLU Center for Democracy, said in an email. “The public has a right to know why the administration believes it can carry out targeted killings of American citizens who are located far away from any conventional battlefield.”
The agencies also must provide information about why they refused to confirm or deny the existence of other documents.
Read the full report here