ACLU Seeks Govt Disclosures on Drone Attacks

Wants to Know Legal Basis for Killing People

by Jason Ditz, March 16, 2010

The ACLU today announced that it was filing a lawsuit aimed at enforcing a previous FOIA request about information pertaining to the massive US drone program, including how many civilians have been killed in the attacks and what the legal basis is for the government killing people with unmanned attack vehicles.

The lawsuit stems from FOIA requests filed in January, and according to the ACLU the Defense Department, the State Department and the Justice Department have all ignored the request. The CIA acknowledged the request but declined to send any information, claiming they couldn’t even confirm or deny if such data existed at all.

The US has been using drones for such attacks for years, but the rate and severity of the attacks have escalated enormously since President Obama took office last year. The attacks have killed a massive number of civilians in recent months.

The ACLU says that in addition to the policy and moral questions, there are serious legal questions with the attacks. The Justice and Defense departments have declined to comment about the specifics of the case.

Adding to the legal questions were comments by National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair last month. Blair told the House of Representatives that the Obama Administration has the legal authority to assassinate American citizens overseas. The details of exactly where the administration acquired this enormous power is unclear, and one of the things the ACLU is seeking to find out in the lawsuit.

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