Citing national security concerns, the Obama administration on Wednesday rejected requests by the ACLU and the New York Times for documents relating to the US military's drone and targeted killing campaigns.
In court documents filed late Wednesday -- in accordance with a deadline set by a New York federal court - the administration argued the information requested was "highly classified," despite the fact that details of the programs have been leaked to the media. Critics argue that the government cannot reasonably expect to exploit details of these programs for political reasons on the one hand and then deny they exist when the legality of the same programs are challenged in court.
In response to the government's court action, ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said Thursday: "The notion that the CIA's targeted killing program is still a secret is beyond absurd. Senior officials have discussed it, both on the record and off."
The notion that the CIA's targeted killing program is still a secret is beyond absurd. Senior officials have discussed it, both on the record and off." --Jameel Jaffer, ACLU
The ACLU's Jaffer said, "The public is entitled to know more about the legal authority the administration is claiming and the way that the administration is using it."
"We continue to have profound concerns with the power the administration is claiming and with the proposition that the president should be permitted to exercise this power without oversight by the courts," Jaffer said.