NYT fails legal challenge to gain info on U.S. drones

Hot on the heels of a UK High Court ruling, on the 2nd of January 2013 a federal judge rejected the New York Times’ legal challenge (freedom of information request) to force the U.S. government to disclose information on its program of targeted killings by drone, including those strikes against American citizens.

McMahon appeared reluctant to rule as she did, noting in her decision that disclosure could help the public understand the “vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty.”

“The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me,” McMahon said in her 68-page decision.

Among the documents sought by the newspaper was an October 2011 memo from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, which authorized the “legal targeting” of Anwar-al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Muslim cleric who was a senior leader in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based offshoot of the terrorist organization.


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