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Obama administration to release drone strike justification memo

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 (CNN) — The Obama administration is preparing to publicly disclose for the first time a secret memo offering the legal justification for targeted drone strikes on U.S. citizens on foreign soil, multiple administration officials told CNN.

Solicitor General Don Verrilli decided not to appeal the April 21 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals mandating the disclosure of the memo, and Attorney General Eric Holder agreed with that decision.

The White House was informed Tuesday of the Justice Department’s decision.

The memo won’t be made public right away. It has to go through a redaction process that will need to be approved by a judge, according to the administration officials.

A redacted version also means that some of the intelligence the administration used to justify the drone strikes will not be made public.

The memo to be released publicly has already been offered to the Senate on a classified basis, a senior administration official said.

The legal explanation for the drone strikes was also outlined by the Justice Department in the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the father of suspected terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki. The administration said in that lawsuit that al-Awlaki posed an imminent threat.

Anwar al-Awlaki was later killed in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen in 2011.

The memo’s author, former Justice Department official David Barron, has been nominated to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, based in Boston. Several U.S. senators from both parties had called upon the administration to release the memo to the public before Barron’s confirmation.

A procedural vote on Barron’s nomination is expected Wednesday in the Senate.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the memo along with the New York Times, said it hopes the release “signals a broader shift in the administration’s approach to the official secrecy surrounding its targeted killing program.”

“The release of this memo will allow the public to better understand the scope of the authority that the government is claiming,” ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement Tuesday.

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


  • athynz

    While I understand the need to redact certain things to keep vital intelligence out of the wrong hands at the same time is THIS the transparency that was promised? Three years after this drone strike we get a promise of a document? Yet another broken promise by our President.

  • me

    Can wait for his “Justification” for knowing full well about the VA
    Debacle since his briefing, before taking office in 09.
    He owes US alot of documented “Justifications”.
    Bet Media Matters’ Soros, is writing his “Talking Points”.Justifications

  • Kim

    lol, I am laughing at all the Obama haters…can’t stand that we live in a country where the President is a Black man! You have your white counterparts to blame, they voted for him, so deal with it. You all love to say black people are only 13% of the popluation when it comes to welfare but when it comes to voting you all pretend that we are a huge portion. He would have never gotten to office without the white vote. Gladly, there are only a small portion of white people that think like the WTVR trash viewers. Enjoy your day in the country where the President is Black, toodles!

    • Mo Fiscal conservatism

      Talk about “White Trash” ^^,
      Racist trailer-trash like yourself are the reason we have the welfare system. No matter what race you are. I’m surprised to see you here. You should be at the grocery store buying pallets of sodas, Ramen noodles and diapers for your government funded children.

    • athynz

      Kim it’s not about hating Obama – I do not agree with his politics or his policies but as far as the man himself is concerned I don’t know him.

      My issues with his policies have not one thing to do with the color of his skin but have to do with several broken promises, failed energy initiatives, the shoving of this broken pork filled health care plan down our throats, this drone strike, and a list of other things. And before you whine about how I might think Bush was better think again. He did some shady things as well while in the oval office.

      Perhaps you don’t like it when people criticize Obama – tough. But not everyone who criticizes him or his policies does so because they are racist, because they hate the man, or because he’s a libpro.

      • athynz

        Joe/David – how many screen names do you have on here troll boy? And what is your fascination with me you creepy stalker troll? Let me guess you have no real social life so this is your outlet. I wonder if no one else commented if you would log in to a few of your screen names and have an online conversation with yourself… Or is it that you simply cannot stand it when someone criticizes your messiah Obama? Cry somewhere else boy.

      • Kim

        My point exactly but certain people give Obama all the criticism and negative comments as if he is the first one to do what he is doing. When past presidents did something wrong or not agreed with, it got swept under the rug. But its the end of the world when it comes to Obama, wonder why…..because some people nit pick everything he does because he is Black.

      • athynz

        Some people – very few IMHO – do nitpick because of the color of his skin and that’s simply wrong and quite frankly idiocy on the part of the nitpicker. One’s skin color is not indicative of intelligence… personally I think he gets more criticism at the moment because he is the current president.

  • Kim

    WRONG—lolol, another hater…I’m the reason for welfare? ignorance is bliss. For one, I dont have children, I have a child, for two, I have a full time job and provide for my child that way. I am not on welfare, nor do I receive foodstamps.Not that it’s any of your business….You lose again. Your assumptions make you an ***. Upset much? : )

    • Mo Fiscal conservatism

      I must really be hitting a nerve with Kim on the trailer trash, welfare thing. She really felt the need to clarify “Nuh uh!!! You’re just ignorant!!”. The typical response you get whenever you prove trailer trash wrong. Then they pretend to laugh in text because they think it makes them look like they don’t care. But we all know you are crying on the other side of that computer.
      Which brings up a good point. How can you afford a computer when you’re on Welfare, Kim? You obviously aren’t at work right now, so the job line could have been better.

    • Mo Fiscal conservatism

      You’re obviously not educated. Otherwise you wouldn’t refer to people as “hater’s”. Did you even get your GED? I doubt it and I think that’s part of the reason your life turned out the way it did.

      • Kim

        And youu’re at work? lololol You’re mad…and it shows so plainly. Your reverse psychology failed. You can’t hit a nerve when nothing you say is true. Actually I am at work. : ) I dont care if a low life like you believes it or not. I am very well educated. Who says I wouldnt refer to people as haters if I were educated? Your opinion doesnt matter! Nope, no GED…..just a high school diploma, a Bacelors of Science (VCU) and Master of Business Administration (LU) : )…..Now back to work and then to check on the lame comment you put next—-anything to make the day go by faster…..regardless of what you put and how much you wish I was an uneducated, welfare recipient, the President is still Barack Obama!

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