The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit today in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, complaining that the Obama Administration failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests relating to the assassinations of three US citizens in Yemen.
The ACLU condemned “the government’s self-serving attitude toward transparency,” arguing that the administration publicly and loudly releases bits of information related to the assassinations but declines to provide the full story, claiming the killings were “secret.”
The requests centered around the September 30 assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born Muslim cleric that the administration regularly claimed was a “terrorist,” as well as his teenage son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and US citizen Samir Khan. The ACLU sought information on the process through which the Obama Administration decides who lives and who dies, as well as on the legal rationale for “kill lists.”
The administration appears not to have responded to the requests, even to claim that the data was classified. The ACLU is preemptively arguing that the “secrecy” claim is not reasonable given the many relevant public comments made by President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.