Report: Justice Dept to Release Redacted Drone Memo

Long-Secret Memo Describes 'Justification' for Killing US Citizens

Reports from multiple administration officials say that the Justice Department will not appeal a court ruling ordering the release of a redacted version of the notorious Barron Memo under the Freedom of Information Act.

The courts ordered the memo released in April, saying President Obama’s repeated bragging about the drone killings waived any right to secrecy for the memo, which provides the putative legal justification for the president unilaterally assassinating American citizens overseas.

The administration gave some access to the memo to members of Congress earlier this month in an effort to rescue the stalled judicial nomination of David Barron, the main author of the memo.

The public still hasn’t been allowed to see anything, however, beyond President Obama’s own repeated claims that the killings are totally on the up and up. Officials say that the redaction could take quite some time, and that there is no timeline for actually releasing the memo, just a general sense that the Justice Department intends to do so at some point.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.