The American Civil Liberties Union sued the federal government Tuesday to learn the use of unmanned drones for targeted killings by the military and CIA.
“In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and other basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings,” the ACLU said in a statement, announcing its action.
The nonprofit civil liberties group filed initial Freedom of Information Act requests with the Defense, Justice and State departments and with the Central Intelligence Agency on Jan. 13. Only the CIA responded, and the ACLU is pursuing that request with an appeal to the agency.
“The government's use of drones to conduct targeted killings raises complicated questions – not only legal questions, but policy and moral questions as well,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project. “These kinds of questions ought to be discussed and debated publicly, not resolved secretly behind closed doors. While the Obama administration may legitimately withhold intelligence information as well as sensitive information about military strategy, it should disclose basic information about the scope of the drone program, the legal basis for the program and the civilian casualties that have resulted from the program.”
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