ACLU Sues for Records on Assassination of US Citizens

ACLU Sues for Records on Assassination of US Citizens | Repeated public comments negate ‘secrecy’ claims

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.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of

  • RickR30

    Go ACLU. I'd never thought I'd say that.

    • musings

      For some people, they are excited that this might hurt Obama and help Republicans (who will no doubt continue the program of Mossad-style and KGB-style assassinations). I guess with the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, it's more KGB because it's about his political activities rather than any past acts of terror, but as with Mossad, it doesn't matter if there is collateral damage, like his son and pals.

      I am not voting for a Republican for this reason. And I am not voting for the Democrat who ordered these hits. I don't care how eloquent Obama or any President may be, when they act like this, they are two-bit hoods. Frankly, I think this is how they prefer to behave. Anything else would take too long and not send all the right political messages. "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly: if the assassination could trammel up the consequence, and catch with his surcease success…" Sorry Mr. Prez, but success is not in your tea leaves after this. Even if you win the Presidency again, you have undercut your moral superiority to the Bush administration, and the country still lays in moral ruins. These petty attacks are the work of Mafias and as they continue (and the gaming parlors also metastatize throughout the so-called Indian reservations throughout the country), the country sinks into third world irrelevance. Mitt Romney is as much an opportunist as you are, from all that I can tell, so no, he won't have my vote either.

      • Roger Lafontaine

        I gave you a yes vote before I finished reading and I can't agree with your voting Republican. That's jumping from the pot into the fire. We can't win in this coming election, it's a lose-lose proposition. The presidency (I use this word intentionally- not the president) has long ago forfeited its authority to the National Security State, and assassination is in the cards on presidents as much as on citizens and others.

  • montaigne

    The administration picks the judges. End of this, and many similar stories.

    • musings

      If you have studied the history of the Supreme Court you will know that how a judge will come down on a given issue (at least in the past) was not a foregone conclusion determined by the politics of the President who had selected the justice. Easy example: Liberal Earl Warren didn't come with FDR or Truman, but it was Republican Eisenhower who picked him.

      Recently, I was struck by a poor 5:4 decision, New London v. Kelo, in which so-called liberal justices allowed an eminent domain proceeding to go forward against homeowners in rather nice houses because Pfizer wanted their land. The argument was one of those specious ones that liberals fall for sometimes in my own Barney Frank district: that Pfizer would bring in more jobs and thus make better use of the property. This never was an eminent domain argument in the past. As things played out, Pfizer (not being a state run institution after all!) made a profit-driven decision NOT to build another factory on the land it had cleared. Now the place is a dump. I believe Sandra Day O'Connor, who has sometimes pleasantly surprised me, wrote the dissent.

      Given this history, I am less inclined to worry about the differences between Obama and Romney when it comes to choosing justices. The campaign may bring out more interesting matters, but as it stands, Romney has not yet "made his bones" while Obama definitely has. Of course if Romney is elected, it will only be a matter of time before the hit men are ordered unless he makes a moral stand against this practice (which might well lose him the election).